City of Cedar Rapids Assumes Ownership of Cedar Lake North Cell
Cedar Rapids City Council recently approved a resolution authorizing execution of a real estate purchase and sale agreement in the amount of $1 for the purchase of property at 855 Shaver Road NE, commonly known as Cedar Lake. The agreement covers the north cell of the lake, which is the larger portion of the lake that is commonly used to fish, kayak, canoe and use trails. This area of Cedar Lake will now be part of the City’s Park system and will be maintained by Parks department staff. The ConnectCR fundraising group and Friends of Cedar Lake have been working with the City to revitalize the lake so residents can take better advantage of its recreational opportunities and natural beauty.
"Cedar Lake has the potential to become a magnificent recreational amenity for our residents and a destination for visitors to our community," said Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids City Manager. "This is a milestone in the ongoing progress of the overall system. ConnectCR volunteers have a vision to develop Cedar Lake into a significant asset for the community and the City of Cedar Rapids is happy to partner with them to support these efforts."
The City’s flood control system includes plans to build levee protection around Cedar Lake.
ConnectCR has been raising money to help revitalize Cedar Lake, as well as to build the Smokestack Bridge—a pedestrian/trail bridge that will span the Cedar River near Mount Trashmore and provide safe passage over the river for bikers, walkers, and runners. ConnectCR’s capital campaign called “Awakening Connections” was formally announced in April, and has raised close to $4.7 million in private donations. The City of Cedar Rapids has pledged $5 million and a $5 million matching grant from The Hall-Perrine Foundation will help fund the $20 million project.
“The City of Cedar Rapids has been absolutely terrific to work with on this project and we are grateful to the City, Mayor Brad Hart, the City Council and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz for their continued support and encouragement for ConnectCR,” said Mike McGrath, the chair of the ConnectCR Steering Committee. “ConnectCR is a great example of a grassroots organization taking its vision to the City and forming a private-public partnership for the betterment of everyone in Cedar Rapids.”
Cedar Lake’s transformation includes a boardwalk that will go out over the 120-acre lake to provide visitors with an on-the-water experience. Plans also call for preserving wetlands on the north shore, adding paddle sport launch locations, floating islands and a nature-based playground along with enhanced park entrances.
The Smokestack Bridge will replace the old Rock Island Railroad bridge that was washed away in the 2008 flood. The bridge will be a 630-foot-long, twin-deck, cable-stayed bridge with a replica of the Sinclair smokestack as its centerpiece. The original Sinclair smokestack was a landmark in the city for more than 100 years and stood close to the site of the proposed bridge.
The ConnectCR project also completes the Cedar Valley Nature Trail and connects Cedar Rapids to two national coast-to-coast trails: The American Discovery Trail and the Great American Rail-Trail. Visit www.connectcr.org to learn more about ConnectCR.