The state’s “Vision Iowa” Board today handed the city of Cedar Rapids five million dollars for a wide-ranging project to renovate hundreds of acres of downtown Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids Mayor Paul Pate was in Des Moines today for the announcement. Pate says “today, with the announcement of this award, the starter’s gun has gone off, the race has begun to see another exciting project in our community.” The total project cost is 34 million, including a park, a lake, a year-round farmers’ market, a senior center and a new retail and restaurant area. Pate says it’ll “reinvigorate” an area of Cedar Rapids that had been getting “a little tired and rusty.” Vision Iowa Board chairman Michael Gartner says a dozen large-scale community projects have now received over 200 million dollars worth of “Vision Iowa” grants from the state. Gartner says there’s nothing like the “Vision Iowa” program anywhere in America. He calls it “a huge success” in creating excitement, jobs and new facilities around the state.