The city is creating a second commercial area with a special state-sanctioned designation to allow building in the 100-year flood plain.
The new “viable business district” is called the First Street Corridor Business District, which reaches from First Avenue East to Eighth Avenue SE along First Street SE and expands to Second Street SE between Fourth and Eighth avenues SE.
The area holds several property parcels purchased with federal funds in the city’s flood-recovery buyout program, and the special business district designation will permit redevelopment on those parcels.
Earlier this summer, the city established the Kingston Village district across the Cedar River from downtown to permit new construction there.
In the last year and at the city’s request, the Iowa Economic Development Authority agreed to allow building in the 100-year flood plain in areas of special historic character, such as New Bohemia and Czech Village, and in areas identified by City Hall as a “viable business districts.”
According to the city, the special exception will permit reinvestment in “targeted” commercial areas while still minimizing the amount of reinvestment in areas at high risk of future flooding.
The city plans to create another viable business district along an Ellis Boulevard NW this fall.