State funds for Cedar Rapids greenway may come in installments

Sen. Matt McCoy calls project 'worthy'

James Q. Lynch
Published: February 12 2014 | 4:04 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:33 am in
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Cedar Rapids may not get the $6 million in state funding it wants to jumpstart a $15 million for greenways in the Time Check, Kingston Village and Czech Village neighborhoods this year.

However, the chairman of the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Capitols Appropriations Subcommittee thinks the Iowa Legislature will provide the funds over the next few years.

Sen. Matt McCoy, D-Des Moines compared the 110-acre greenways project to the Principal River Walk in Des Moines that was developed over seven years.

“That’s the way this project feels,” he said after a delegation from Cedar Rapids presented the plans to the subcommittee Wednesday. “It’s a worthy project.”

The $30 million project is a continuation of the city’s flood recovery and the city-state partnership that has made that possible, Mayor Ron Corbett told lawmakers. He thanked lawmakers for their heavy investment in the city,

Developing the green space with recreational and athletic facilities, and trails will help the city attract and retain the next generation workforce, Corbett said.

The city has invested about $15 million into the greenways with the buyout and removal of about 1,300 homes, according to city Flood Recovery Director Joe O’Hern.

Corbett called the greenways a “creative use of floodplain management” consistent with ongoing flood recovery and prevention efforts.

“It allows the river to breathe naturally,” he said. “It helps with the flow. It doesn’t constrict it.”

McCoy agreed “it’s a great way to protect the city.”

He expects the Legislature will be better able to fund it next year than this year, but said he will recommend including some funds in the 2015 fiscal year that begins July 1.

“Maybe 20 percent this year,” he said, “and another $1.2 million a year until we get there.”

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, sat through the presentation and agreed Cedar Rapids is likely to get some funding in the 2015 budget.

The city could work with that, City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said after the meeting.

“We’re looking for something to jumpstart this project,” he said.

 

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