The City of Cedar Rapids is revitalizing the Czech Village on the west side of the Cedar River. This area is being reimagined as a community gathering place ideal for residents and visitors.
The purpose of the project is to implement key pieces of the adopted 2019 Czech Village/NewBo Action Plan. It will provide a community space for events and everyday use. This project will revive an area that was severely flooded and create recreational amenities for all to enjoy.
The LightLine Loop project will incorporate a roundhouse, Woonerf, pedestrian promenade, parking lot, 18th Avenue SW extension, and wayfinding monuments and signage elements. The City received a Destination Iowa Grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to construct the anticipated elements, to compliment the area and integrate into the adjacent flood control system project to remain protected from future flood events.
- Create an amazing space for residents and visitors: This area will be able to act as a space for Cedar Rapids residents and visitors.
- Catalyst for development: The LightLine Loop will be a desirable place that will draw in developers, potentially adding jobs, businesses and opportunities for the community.
- Area for community events: Key features include a roundhouse, pedestrian paths, additional parking, and space for events of all sizes.
This summer, the City received feedback on the LightLine Loop project from residents, business owners, the Czech Village Association, Czech Village/New Bohemia Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID), The District, and other stakeholders. There were stakeholder meetings held in July, a three-day design workshop hosted in August, and an online survey open for multiple weeks in August. The focus of these efforts was to gauge design preferences for four of the project’s key elements: the Roundhouse, Woonerf (or shared-space street), Pedestrian Promenade, and Gateway signage. The project team is taking all this feedback into consideration while designing the area.
An online survey designed to collect feedback from the community based on design preferences was available from August 1 – August 18, 2023. The community provided 570 responses that inspired the project team’s design concepts.
The results of the roundhouse portion of the survey showed that residents want the space to be a mix of old and new, as well as a place that can be used for a variety of events year-round.
The woonerf (or shared-space street) section of the survey asked about the look of the street and its surroundings. Responses indicated that they want the space to have a good ambiance, should have areas to sit and enjoy the space, and have native plants used in landscaping and opportunities for public art.
Many of the responses for the promenade matched what was desired for the woonerf. This area will have a nice ambiance, an area to sit and enjoy the space, and feature thoughtful landscaping.
The last section of the survey asked about the signage in the space. Respondents indicated that they would like to have entrances to the area that clearly mark the space while keeping with the culture of the area.
Early ConceptsOn September 27 the project team presented initial renderings to the public. Some of these early concepts that were created based on the community feedback are below. These are still being updated and finalized.
Overview at night
Next Steps & Important Dates
The design will continue until the Winter of 2024. After that, the project will move to bidding and pre-construction. Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2025.
This project was selected for a Destination Iowa Grant through the Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and received $3M for this project. The remaining funding needs will be supported with local dollars.
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