By Ron Corbett
Think back just four years ago. Cedar Rapids was losing jobs. Companies such as Swiss Valley Farms were closing down or moving out of Cedar Rapids. The city was struggling; many think the city was drifting and heading in the wrong direction.
Today companies such as Cargill, Penford, RuffaloCODY and Raining Rose are making investments in Cedar Rapids. The private sector is investing millions and we are rebuilding our tax base. The investment by these companies shows they believe in the future of Cedar Rapids. These investments have lead to hundreds of jobs being created. Our unemployment rate is down.
The pro-growth policies put in place by the City Council have made a difference. In addition, we put in place our buy-local, build-local, employ-local strategy. This has led to the results we are seeing in local investment and confidence in Cedar Rapids.
This confidence isn’t waning. Each week we get interest by the private sector about investment opportunities. The recent announcements of New Pioneer Co-op and Fresh Market are examples of the continued strength of our economy. Having pro-growth polices has been critical to the investment, but there is one additional reason the private sector believes in the future of Cedar Rapids.
We had to believe in ourselves first. We had to rebuild our community assets. The library, the fire station, the convention center, the Paramount Theatre, the housing stock. By believing in ourselves and rebuilding, we sent a strong message to the private sector.
Sometimes in life you just have to put a stake in the ground. We did that in Cedar Rapids. We said we will rebuild and we will be better. The decisions haven’t been easy. One thing we all know, if you try and please everybody nothing will get done.
I realize not every decision is supported universally by residents, but decisions needed to be made. It is my hope, as we are now seeing the benefits of rebuilding our community assets, that we can agree Cedar Rapids has made great progress in the last few years. I also hope you believe we are heading in the right direction and our best days are still ahead of us. I am proud of our town and the residents.
Recently a lady told me a story of her brother who came to visit her. She took him to the NewBo district and to the NewBo market. She was so proud to show off her town. She said “I love Cedar Rapids.” A smile came to my face and I said I do, too.
Thanks for the last four years. Being your mayor has been challenging and fun.
l Ron Corbett is seeking his second term as mayor. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org