Cedar Rapids officials say they expect to find out by the end of the month whether they’ll receive a federal grant to cover most of the cost for building a new events center. About half of the money for the 67-million dollar project will come from state I-JOBS funding and local bonds.
City officials say they hope the other half comes from the federal Economic Development Administration. City councilman Chuck Wieneke says a new events center will help stimulate the local economy in more ways than one. “We’re dealing with the flood, it’s our main priority but we can’t stop dealing with the future as well and moving forward with this cellular center is going to help this city and help the tax payers and therefore it’s going to help all of those affected by the flood as well,” Wieneke says.
Doug Neuman is the president of the Cedar Rapids Downtown District. Neuman says anchoring a downtown with this type of facility will attract visitors and says a conservative estimate is that it would have a $14-million economic impact annually. That’s in addition to millions of dollars that will go to restaurants and hotels.
If the funding is approved, the project will likely take two and a half years to complete. The Cedar Rapids city council will tonight consider awarding the project management contract to the company led by Governor Culver’s former chief of staff.