Advertisement

Matthew 25 launches $1 million campaign to develop housing, nonprofit grocery store in Time Check neighborhood


Matthew 25 kicked off its Healthy Neighborhoods campaign at Cultivate Hope Urban Farm on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Cedar Rapids nonprofit Matthew 25 kicked off a $1 million campaign this week to revitalize the Time Check neighborhood with new housing opportunities and a nonprofit grocery store as the community continues to recover from the 2008 flood.

Matthew 25 executive director Clint Twedt-Ball said $400,000 will be used to build new housing and repair older homes. Homes will be built using sustainable building practices and older homes will be made more energy efficient.

The remaining $600,000 will be used to open the Cultivate Hope Corner Store on the corner of Ellis Boulevard and E Avenue. The grocery store will turn the neighborhood from a “food desert into a food oasis,” Twedt-Ball said. The space will sell reduced-cost local produce, dry goods and other food staples. There will also be a small seating area in the store, as well as fresh, ready-to-eat meals.

The efforts are part of the Healthy Neighborhoods campaign, which Twedt-Ball said is about “pulling people together to rebuild an area.” The campaign has already raised nearly $800,000.

“We’re really here to talk about what an amazing neighborhood this is, the assets that it has of being near the river, near parks, right close to downtown and thinking about all of the ways that we can build on that to bring it back and to make it even better,” Twedt-Ball said on Tuesday during the campaign launch event at Cultivate Hope Urban Farm.

The campaign kick-off was open to the public and included individuals involved with Matthew 25, Time Check residents, city officials, donors and other supporters of the project. April 20, 2021. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Matthew 25 was founded in 2006 with the goal of strengthening neighborhoods on the west side of Cedar Rapids. The organization has three focuses: food, housing and education.

The nonprofit has created a tool library, started food education programs for students, established Groundswell Cafe and founded the state’s first urban farm, Cultivate Hope Urban Farm.

The organization has also been active in helping residents recover from the 2008 flood and the August 2020 derecho. After the 2008 flood, the nonprofit worked with other organizations to invest more than $6 million in rebuilding 25 blocks and renewing those neighborhoods.

The nonprofit has been working with the Time Check neighborhood since the 2008 flood devastated the community. The Healthy Time Check initiative was started in 2018 to bring together stakeholders and partners to help with further investment in the neighborhood.

“Those of you that have been connected to this neighborhood for a while know that in 2008 it took a serious punch to the gut, and the floods of 2008 were devastating,” Twedt-Ball said, adding that the neighborhood “provides the lifeblood of Cedar Rapids.”

Matthew 25 executive director Clint Twedt-Ball shared how the Healthy Neighborhoods campaign is “about pulling people together to rebuild an area.” Twedt-Ball said the steering committee has spent the last two years working and “dreaming about what this could be.” April 20, 2021. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

The neighborhood, which is located by the Cedar River, was established in the early 1870s. Many of the early residents were railroad workers, and the neighborhood’s name evolved from that. Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association President Al Pierson explained how the Time Check name came to be in a 2018 guest column for the Gazette:

“[T]he railroads were often short on payroll, and would regularly provide the workers postdated paychecks. Under credit arrangements with local banks, workers would be allowed to bank these checks in advance of noted dates to cover expenses, and the banks would delay the railroad’s obligation. These checks became known in local parlance as ‘time checks,’ and over time, the term grew to be used to describe the neighborhood as a whole.”

Twedt-Ball also mentioned the Quaker Oats company and Diamond V as part of the economic development in the neighborhood and how it has provided “the foundation for the success of Cedar Rapids.”

Mayor Brad Hart spoke at Tuesday’s event about the city’s efforts to strengthen the neighborhood with flood protection and housing development.

“The city cares deeply about the Time Check neighborhood,” Hart said. “… There will be flood protection here — permanent flood protection — and the greenway space along with that flood protection system will provide open space and additional recreational opportunities for all of us to enjoy.”

SIGN UP TODAY

Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village

SUBSCRIBE

SanDee Skelton has lived in the Time Check neighborhood for almost all of her life. She’s raised her family here, her friends live here, she loves the community and is still deeply involved in it. Matthew 25 has “always been a help” in the neighborhood, Skelton said.

“New life is springing up every place that Matthew 25 has touched,” Skelton said. “… Let’s all do our part. Let’s all help this to be a healthy neighborhood and keep ourselves healthy and care for our neighbors like we did years back when I was a kid.”

Mayor Brad Hart and Time Check resident SanDee Skelton at the Healthy Neighborhoods campaign kick off on April 20, 2021. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

The grocery store is scheduled to open by this fall and the first homes are scheduled for construction during this year’s building season, according to the nonprofit.

Information about how to donate to the campaign can be found online. If more than $1 million is raised, the money will be used to create a reserve fund for the store and develop more housing.


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

Advertisement

stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu/events

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.