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Old 01-17-2008, 10:54 AM
 
17 posts, read 46,827 times
Reputation: 15

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fenix you are so right. That was the purpose of this thread, to create a productive forum. My question was how CR can help it's downtown. I believe the city is just waiting for something to happen and as you put it riding it out. That is not the best method. The city needs to take a proactive approach to this problem. The city should focus on the 3 T's to a successful city, Talent, Technology, and Tolerance. The city is going to have to invest more into it's downtown, a lot more. There needs to be a great modernization movement aimed at bring the city up-to-date with the times. A lowering or raising of the train downtown. Controlled zoning so new businesses or expanding businesses in the area are pushed more towards the downtown. Realistic goals that are both motivating and not deceiving (fifteen in 5). Research on growing cities that are comparable to CR ( what are they doing and how are they spending their money).
Inspiring factories downtown to develop ways of controlling their smells. Without the smell Quaker Oats is kind of cool, I mean whats more Iowan then huge gain silos downtown, if done right it could be a cool trademark of Iowa. Cedar Rapid needs to invest, invest, and invest into their downtown. Downtown should be CR's primary focus.
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Ne
884 posts, read 827,846 times
Reputation: 119
As a citizen I think the best thing to do is create a watchdog group or organization that would pressure local leaders to start immediately creating economic incentives for downtown development. Also, I would circulate a large petition or survey showing the dissatisfaction of C.R. residents with their downtown. That is your city center and should positively reflect the rest of the city. Downtowns are a direct reflection of a city's economic strength and culture.

As a citizen idk what else you could do. Contact local media after you form an organization and get the issue pressed more firmly??

That all may sound stupid but maybe it’s a start.
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:13 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,502 times
Reputation: 184
Angry Did you SEE the letter to the editor...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wallststud View Post
The city is going to have to invest more into it's downtown, a lot more.
Did you see the letter to the editor in Wednesday's Gazette from the guy who can't see why his taxes should be raised just to keep the library open? He points out (I am not making this up) that nobody pays his greens fees for him, so why should he pay for other people's hobbies? He recommends a use tax -- people who use the library should pay for it.

Honest-to-pete, it's people like that who make Cedar Rapids everything it isn't. Why not extend that to its logical conclusion -- I don't have kids, so why doesn't the letter writer just pick up my share of the payment for the schools his kids attend? Hey, I NEVER drive on the street that runs in front of his house -- why should I have to worry about whether it's paved or plowed? I've never even been to the park near his house, the one where his kids play...

I am just about foaming at the mouth and falling over backward at this one. As long as you have people who see basic services as unnecessary luxuries, I don't see how you can ever make improvements. !!!!!
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Old 01-17-2008, 01:57 PM
 
25 posts, read 87,625 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Without the smell Quaker Oats is kind of cool, I mean whats more Iowan then huge gain silos downtown, if done right it could be a cool trademark of Iowa. Cedar Rapid needs to invest, invest, and invest into their downtown.
I love the thought process here. The idea should be embracing the roots of the community and bringing it hope by creatively developing it; creating an environment of energy and inspiration (cheesy I know, but honestly, how great would that be?) I can think of more than a few cities around the country that have completely transformed themselves by embracing their industrial roots and finding ways to modernize existing areas and structures; it gives a city personality and soul...On a plane last week, I sat by an individual who works at an NYC architecture firm. His company was a significant contributor to the complete transformation of the downtown Baltimore (waterfront) area. Great conversation about how they took all of the industry that had existed and transformed it into a destination spot! ...I get excited just thinking about the possibilites that could exist for this city.

Steve, thank you for the ideas. I agree and think that your post is a baby step in the right direction. Anybody else?

WWGirl, if I had read that I would have had the same reaction as you. No doubt these people/selfish opinions exist in any community. I would also say that by and large they are products of unimaginative communities/surroundings to begin with, seeing little value in the continuous re-investment of their city because they have never seen or felt the benefits of it. Don't you think that it could be argued that most people with few ideas, dreams or expectations come from the same thing? Time to stop the cycle!!! And my argument isn't a cry for socialism, as the editorial writer's opinion may infer, it's an appeal to common sense and cultured living! I have this damn CR discussion with people all the time (my wife, realizing that I'm not going to drop it, has stopped rolling her eyes and now usually participates). I would say that nearly everyone I talk to, young and old, male or female, blue collar and white collar, white, black or brown, dog or cat, feel the same way as we do.

Last edited by fenix; 01-17-2008 at 03:01 PM..
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Old 01-17-2008, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Marion, IA
2,796 posts, read 5,659,563 times
Reputation: 1584
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodwardGirl View Post
Did you see the letter to the editor in Wednesday's Gazette from the guy who can't see why his taxes should be raised just to keep the library open? He points out (I am not making this up) that nobody pays his greens fees for him, so why should he pay for other people's hobbies? He recommends a use tax -- people who use the library should pay for it.

Honest-to-pete, it's people like that who make Cedar Rapids everything it isn't. Why not extend that to its logical conclusion -- I don't have kids, so why doesn't the letter writer just pick up my share of the payment for the schools his kids attend? Hey, I NEVER drive on the street that runs in front of his house -- why should I have to worry about whether it's paved or plowed? I've never even been to the park near his house, the one where his kids play...

I am just about foaming at the mouth and falling over backward at this one. As long as you have people who see basic services as unnecessary luxuries, I don't see how you can ever make improvements. !!!!!
Ok, but how does that apply to this thread? Are you proposing we all raise our sales tax (AGAIN) to get something rolling downtown? I will vote against that one even faster than I voted against the latest 1% SILO increase.

Incidentally, why NOT a use tax on this outpost library? People outside of that area I'm sure NEVER go there, so why should they have to pay for an operation that only serves a few people and probably has a ton of overhead shuffling books back and forth across the city. I think they made the right move to close it. Tell me why I'm wrong about this.
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Old 01-17-2008, 04:36 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,502 times
Reputation: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4guy View Post
People outside of that area I'm sure NEVER go there,
LOL -- It's in Westdale mall! I mean, I know the mall is a ghost town these days, but saying that the only people that patronize it are those in its immediate area doesn't make any sense at all.

Personally, I stop in there regularly. Their "quick picks" section is the best in the city, second only to Marion (Hiawatha is my "home" library as I live between Hiawatha and Palo). I don't work over there or anything, but like Chick-Fil-A, so I go to Westdale, get a book and go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and start reading. It don't get much better, as far as I'm concerned!

My point with this was that as long as you have people who think that the basic amenities -- like public library services -- are optional frivolities, then nothing is going to get done. Think small, make like a turtle... that's their motto!

As far as taxes go, that's why I keep asking for a comparison of our city budget to others of similar size, alongside a comparison of our taxes. If what Jim Prosser said was right, you may have a point when it comes to tax rates -- that higher taxes should NOT be the answer. On the other hand, if our city is being "starved" because our tax dollars all go elsewhere, don't we deserve an explanation of how that all works?

I love what Fenix is doing -- if you guys start a grass roots group, I'd love to join (if you'll allow those of us who live outside city limits... better decide that up front lest someone get all bent out of shape ala Bob Bruce and the "sell the golf course" fiasco)!
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
124 posts, read 469,458 times
Reputation: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSMGuy View Post
One thing they could cut out is that police helicopter that flies around 24/7. I was there a few years ago and couldn't believe it. I've lived in cities 10X as big as CR and they didn't have a police chopper flying around all day and night. Talk about a waste of $$. I can't believe people would put up with that.
Those things were mostly a huge waste of money as far as I was concerned. I moved in 2002 but might be moving back this year. Out here in the Portland metro area we've got a population of a little over 2 million people if you include Vancouver, WA right across the river. Not a single police helicopter to be found! The only helicopters you'll find here are for the news stations and privately owned. I'm 10 miles from PDX airport and we've got nearly 650 flights per day coming in and out of here, plus the Oregon Air National Guards F-15's, and I rarely hear them compared to the damn CR police helicopter that you'd hear all the time and drive you frickin' nuts at night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodwardGirl View Post
I don't work over there or anything, but like Chick-Fil-A, so I go to Westdale, get a book and go to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and start reading. It don't get much better, as far as I'm concerned!
Please send me a couple of those Chick-fil-a sandwiches. I've been dying for one almost since the time I left CR over 5 years ago. I haven't found anything out here that compares. Same with Maid-Rite.
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Old 01-31-2008, 06:39 PM
 
25 posts, read 87,625 times
Reputation: 21
Default Exactly.

Check out this article about cities moving in the right direction (economically anyway); exactly what I wish Cedar Rapids' city council understood. And if they do, that they would act a bit more swiftly.

America's Fastest-Growing Metros - Yahoo! Real Estate (http://promo.realestate.yahoo.com/americas_fastest_growing_metros.html - broken link)
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:10 PM
 
38 posts, read 119,260 times
Reputation: 20
Default Citizen's Charrette

Quote:
Originally Posted by fenix View Post
I can't tell you what a huge issue this is to me. My wife and I are from Iowa City. (Hastily) we bought a lot and built a house in Fairfax (just outside of Cedar Rapids) about a year and a half ago. We love our house, but dream of getting away from the city. The billowing smokestacks, industrial downtown and southside really depress me; my fault for not doing more extensive homework. I travel across the country on a weekly basis for work and while I say with sincerity that I am a proud Iowan, I can't help but feel slightly depressed when coming home to Cedar Rapids; I feel like the city is 30 years behind and moving at a snail's pace to doing something about it. I have to constantly remind myself of the good things about living in the area; there are a high number of great things (mainly our families) but the city's downtown is not one of them. Iowa city is only twenty miles away, but the atmosphere couldn't be more different!!!

Anyway, I like a number of young professionals I know are tired of bitching about the situation. Is there any way we can facilitate a productive forum on the realistic ways to help bring the city into the present? What needs to happen to make the city council realize that in order to change the situation, promote growth, deter all of our young educated youth from fleeing at their first chance, that a significant re-investment needs to be made. I'm well aware of the city's financial situation, and I know that it is simple to say "let's go spend some money", but what is the alternative forecast? Ride it out? For how long?

I have two little ones now and I want them to be proud of where they are from, not ashamed of it.
One idea: Perhaps if the citizens hosted a charrette - essentially a town meeting specifically about redesigning/re-envisioning a city - and presented the findings to the board, there would be some tangible ideas to go on. Board members of any town are not always the most creative, visionary types, and they're busy with other political matters, besides. But the people of the place know what's needed, and small groups have been known to create lasting change... Just an idealist's perspective.
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