Cedar Rapids seeking public input on possible new recreational opportunities on the Cedar River

Cedar River — Zak Neumann/Little Village

For Cedar Rapidians who have long wished to canoe, tube or swim in the Cedar River, the opportunity could be getting closer. The City of Cedar Rapids is seeking input on potential recreational options, and residents have a chance to share what they’d like to see.

Until Feb. 14, residents can take an online survey that will ask what they think about the Cedar River, how often they go on or along the river and what other water bodies in Iowa they visit for recreation. There is also an opportunity to share what boating and nonboating improvements (like canoeing, tubing and swimming) Cedar Rapids should consider.

The survey is part of a larger study that is being completed this year.

The Cedar Rapids City Council approved a contract worth almost $150,000 with Crane Associates, Inc., for the river recreation feasibility study at their Sept. 10, 2019 meeting. The firm will complete the study with River Restoration, a Colorado firm, and Anderson Bogert, a local civil engineering firm.

“The city has the potential for an 8-mile-long floating playground,” Crane Associates founder Michael Crane said in a news release issued the same day as the city council meeting. “This river can be a signature destination for the city with whitewater parks, river trails, family-friendly activities and world cup level competitions in many water sports, all while improving real estate values, attracting a skilled workforce and increasing the quality of life.”

Through the study, which builds off of the Cedar Rapids Greenways project, the city is looking into what opportunities are safe, feasible and compatible with the flood control system. The goal is to determine the best opportunities and develop a plan to implement them.

There will also be a technical analysis of river conditions, such as dams, and look at the economic impact the river recreation amenities would have, according to the city.

The study is slated to wrap up by September. The findings will be presented to the public, and a final recommendation will be identified, along with a priority of improvements and cost estimates.

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