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Strengthening Cedar Rapids through economic development







UST 2018




MARCH 2018




Over the last year, we have seen existing industry expansions lead to new investment from companies like Diamond V. Mills, Lil’ Drug and Red Star Yeast. We have welcomed Hibu and Sedgwick to our Downtown as well as a number of housing developments and lifestyle businesses. We continue to see progress in major retail projects from our local development community.



etween the public and private sectors, we share a vision for a bright and prosperous economic future in Cedar Rapids. Every day we see evidence this great potential is becoming reality with new development taking shape all around us.



To help keep pace with an increasing rate of positive change, the City of Cedar Rapids has undertaken several major new initiatives to further implementation of the City’s 2015-2018 Strategic Plan for Economic Development. In 2016, City staff completed our first annual existing industry survey report. By engaging 170 companies in survey visits since then, City staff has learned a tremendous amount about existing industry’s priorities for the future. Ongoing Cedar Rapids Business Survey efforts will form an important part of our business retention program. Survey information will help staff continue to improve responsiveness to business community needs in order to help companies already invested in Cedar Rapids to stay and grow.


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The City of Cedar Rapids has also recently enhanced its marketing efforts for economic development. In April 2017, the City launched a new website for economic development ( It serves as a one-stop source of information about location advantage in Cedar Rapids for new and existing industry. The website’s economic dashboard provides a snapshot of local market conditions and updates that matter to business. We are also increasing the frequency and reach of marketing efforts by promoting directly to businesses nationwide.

Cedar Rapids is a truly exceptional place to live and work, but great places do not simply happen. Instead, they are the result of hard work. City residents, business leaders, volunteers, elected officials and staff all pull together to create a place that leverages all of its assets to consistently outperform expectations.

Interested in Advertising With Us? Contact the Our CR Communications Coordinator at 319-286-5742.

It is my sincere hope that current progress in economic development is only a sign of still better things yet to come. The ongoing support of our entire community is what continues to make Cedar Rapids a clear choice for growth and opportunity in Eastern Iowa.

Jeffrey Pomeranz Cedar Rapids City Manager




MARCH 2018

A successful business community directly

impacts our residents' quality of life by helping to support local amenities, offering a variety of job opportunities, and improving the overall economy. The City of Cedar Rapids is committed to attracting new business and helping existing businesses expand and grow through a number of economic development activities. This issue focuses on many critical components of economic development, including marketing, transportation, partnerships and collaborations, resources and incentives, and target industries. It highlights the ongoing process to create a vibrant, dynamic city through economic development policies and programs.






Economic Development Marketing


thriving city relies on its ability to retain and attract

site consultants, and real estate brokers, and includes: an

businesses to the community. This is important in

economic dashboard that features multiple feeds of live data

order to create economic growth, increase quality job

from sources such as the US Census Bureau; a searchable

opportunities, and enhance quality of life for residents.

Geographic Information System (GIS) property directory; information on current projects; incentive information; and

The work of selling a community to attract new business

links to partner websites. The website provides specific

is not an easy task. Cities are becoming more and more

information pertaining to each one of our target industries,

competitive in these efforts. In order to put Cedar Rapids’ best foot forward, the City’s Economic Development Division recently developed a comprehensive marketing plan focused specifically on building the local economy. Through these efforts, the City launched a new Economic Development brand and website in 2017. The website was designed specifically to meet the needs of corporate executives,

as well as information for entrepreneurs and retailers. Maps show an external audience the benefits of our central locations, and show a snapshot of distances and drive times for potential customers. The site also highlights the core districts, and quality of life amenities of Cedar Rapids. “In our research and discussions with site consultants and corporate executives, we learned what exactly is important for them as they consider communities,” said Jasmine Almoayed, Economic Development Manager. “We want to make sure we are providing businesses the information about our community they need, all in one convenient place, so they will be compelled to take a closer look and not bypass Cedar Rapids before they’ve had a chance to see all we have to offer.” In addition to the website, the City also has branded marketing pieces for each of our main target industries, featuring subjects such as utilities, infrastructure, access to




MARCH 2018

AIRPORT We want to make sure we are providing businesses the information about our community they need, all in one convenient place, so they will be compelled to take a closer look...”

customers, etc. These contain pertinent information for specific industries, and can be used at trade shows, when visiting prospects, as mailers, targeted emails and in a variety of other marketing efforts. The brand, website and marketing materials were developed through a series of stakeholder meetings and included the input of nearly 100 individuals from the business community, economic development partners, college and school district representatives, non-profits, retail, entertainment, government and elected officials. The City also conducted outreach and collected input from several hundred business and community leaders, as well as over 1600 residents as part of a study done through the Economic Development firm Angelo Economics. The City has received several positive leads already from these new marketing efforts, including an out of state developer who learned about opportunities in Cedar Rapids through the economic development incentive programs marketed on our website. This developer is currently working with the city on a sizable workforce housing project.



he close connection between airports and regional development has been noted by multiple economists. Studies have found associations between airport passengers and metro population, employment growth, and regional employment. According to John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina's KenanFlagler Business School, and Greg Lindsay, a senior fellow of the New Cities Foundation where he leads the Connected Mobility Initiative, airports “shape business location and urban development in the 21st century as much as highways did in the 20th century, railroads in the 19th and seaports in the 18th.” The Cedar Rapids area is fortunate to have a successful airport that supports economic growth. The Eastern Iowa Airport (CID) set a passenger record in 2017 with 1.14 million people choosing to fly CID. The previous record was set in 2014, when the total number of passengers was 1.13 million. This marks the eighth time in CID’s history to have more than 1 million passengers fly in and out of the airport. Airport Director Marty Lenss says the passenger record coincides with the increase in seats in the market. “Our airline partners invested in the CID market by adding service and capacity, and travelers responded by choosing to fly CID.” American Airlines added two-daily nonstop flights to Charlotte, NC (Charlotte Douglas International Airport – CLT) and United and Delta upgraded various flights to larger aircraft. Frontier Airlines offered nonstop service to Las Vegas and introduced nonstop service to Orlando International. Lenss says national competition between communities for sustainable, reliable and convenient air service has never been more intense. “When an airline invests in a community and adds service and/or seats it’s vital the region supports the enhanced investment and demonstrates to the airlines the strength of our market,” he says. The airport recently began a Fly Local campaign, asking regional employers, local governmental entities and business leaders to implement air service travel policies and guidelines promoting the use of air service through CID. To date, 20 businesses have signed the Fly Local policy.

Richard Florida, “Airports and the Wealth of Cities” City Lab, transportation/2012/05/airports-and-wealth-cities/855/. May 23, 2012.



THE SCIENCE BEHIND SITE SELECTION There’s a saying in real estate that the most important factor in buying a home is “location, location, location.” The same can be said for retail.


riving through Cedar Rapids reveals a

additional foot traffic of shoppers who share

variety of diverse retail options — from

similar tastes.

restaurants and dining, to interest-specific

While the market primarily drives site location

department or recreation stores, to popular

decisions, Cedar Rapids is proactive in creating

national chains. How do they decide to come to

as many opportunities as possible for closing the

Cedar Rapids?

deal. The City partners with real estate agents who

For retailers, committing to a site location comes

work hard to attract new retailers and fill empty

down to a wide variety of factors, all of which are

spaces. A comprehensive marketing campaign,

carefully and thoroughly reviewed before a final

specifically tailored with an economic development

location is determined. At the heart of much of this

audience in mind, positions Cedar Rapids’

exploration is data. Market and consumer trends

strengths and offers the key data that retailers

drive retail, and play a critical role in a company’s


decision to develop in Cedar Rapids.

Behind the scenes, the City works hard to be as

Many of these deliberations include knowing who

shovel ready as possible for retailers who want to

you are — their potential consumer. Retailers

shave off valuable “time to market” by reducing

undergo a comprehensive look at consumer

length of development schedules. While the

profiles, considering age, wage, occupation,

Economic Development Division works hard to

and spending habits. This research helps reveal

attract retailers to the area, the Development

the market potential, trends, the number of

Services Division works to get them open for

consumers, what they typically buy, and what the

business as quickly as possible. The “one-stop-

surrounding competition looks like.

shop” philosophy in Cedar Rapids means a developer has a single point of contact for all

Each company is unique and has its own site

their building permit needs, which helps retailers

selection criteria when it comes to finding

quickly begin to see a return on investment.

the perfect location to call home. Additional considerations include the size and demographic

Cedar Rapids has seen tremendous growth over

characteristics of the city. Many retailers will also

the last 10 years. The City continues to remain

look for opportunities to be grouped with certain

proactive, taking all possible action to highlight the

stores or brands for the benefit of generating

many strong reasons why sites in Cedar Rapids are prime locations for retail business development.




MARCH 2018



n August 2015, Iowa State University (ISU) and the City of Cedar Rapids created a unique collaborative effort to foster technology based economic development. The ISU-Cedar Rapids partnership is a first of its kind initiative. It aims to increase cooperation and information exchange between faculty research and the City’s agribusiness, food manufacturing and bioprocessing industries. Benefits to business in Cedar Rapids include growing a connection to the resources, research and innovation framework available at Iowa State. The goal of the partnership is to leverage the unique assets available at ISU to grow the food and bioprocessing industry cluster in Cedar Rapids. Over the years, major employers working in this sector have expressed a desire for closer collaboration with ISU faculty, and several have already initiated joint projects. One example of work being done to support collaboration is a soon to be released Cedar Rapids Food and Bioprocessors Manufacturing Report, which catalogues primary and secondary products, as well as bi-products, co-products and waste streams of local industry. This information can serve as the basis for targeted industry recruitment in the food/bio sector, as much of the manufacturing in this sector is able to use unused bi-products from others for their own manufacturing needs. It is these ongoing partnerships and interactions that will lead to new discoveries and advance productivity to keep anchor industries competitive. Along with deepening existing industry in Cedar Rapids, biotechnology companies statewide, ISU and City economic development efforts, the partnership will also focus on education — providing relevant seminars, round-table discussions and forums. These events invite industry leaders to discussions covering industry-wide topics presented by ISU faculty, government agencies and experts in respective fields. Cedar Rapids is one of the leading bioprocessing and food ingredient centers in North America, as well as one of the largest ethanol producers in the world. The City also is home to international businesses involved in the production of yeast, dietary fiber and cellulose-based pharmaceutical ingredients. These agriculturally based industries are the backbone of our economy, and will play a key role in our future success. Through this partnership, we believe we can take these strong local industries to a whole new level. The collaboration between the City and ISU is just one example of how Cedar Rapids is helping support economic growth in our community. This partnership shows our commitment, not just to new business development, but also the growth and advancement of our existing industry.

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Cedar Rapids has been a major manufacturer of innovative technology and other precision projects for many decades. A large number of contract suppliers such as precision machine shops, fabricators, and engineering firms support the work of local manufacturers. National employers tell us that our local workforce is 25 percent more productive than what they experience in other locations. Our area’s K-12 and higher education providers have strong partnerships to ensure we have workers with the skills local employers need. For example, the Cedar Rapids public schools have offerings that include Project Lead the Way, robotics, and STEM classes, which local higher education providers support with career-focused training in fields such as information technology, CNC (Computer Numerical Control Machining) programming and machining operation, automation, and instrumentation technologies.




In addition, our location and transportation network puts us within a one-day truck trip of 72 million North American consumers. We have quick access to interstate highways, an extensive network of short line, regional, and Class I rail service. Combined with a low cost of doing business — including competitive wages, and affordable land — all these factors support a strong manufacturing community.

Economic development efforts focus on target industries


arketing experts know when you are


selling a product or service, you can’t

Our City has long been recognized as one of North America’s leading centers for food ingredient production and bioprocessing, with large operations from Quaker Oats, Cargill, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Ingredion, Archer Daniels Midland, and Diamond V Mills, among others. A key reason for our preeminence in the industry is the large supply of agricultural inputs in our region, including grains, other crops, and livestock. In recent years, we’ve earned a reputation for innovative biotechnology. The area offers a variety of educational programs and research from the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and other postsecondary providers in life sciences, food sciences, nutrition, biosystems, and mechanical and chemical engineering.

try to be all things to all people. It’s

best to figure out your target demographic and competitive advantage and work to get in front of the people who are most likely to identify with your brand. We take a similar approach when positioning Cedar Rapids to national and international executives and site selectors to recruit new business to the community. Our Economic Development team has worked with

We offer highly competitive infrastructure and utilities for companies in the sector, and our location and transportation network is an asset to these industries.

partner organizations and research firms to determine our City’s strengths and to identify industry segments that rely on those key strengths for their business. Our experts have identified five target industries to focus our recruitment


efforts, including manufacturing, food/bio, life

Cedar Rapids’ medical infrastructure and academic and research institutions gives life sciences companies access to the resources and skilled workforce they need. Our community’s resources are particularly well-suited for healthcare facilities, biotechnology firms, medical device manufacturing, healthcare IT companies, and senior care providers. Cedar Rapids ranks well above the national average and other Iowa cities on the Economic Development Administration’s Innovation Index.

sciences, logistics/distribution, and financial/ insurance. That’s not to say we don’t also look for other opportunities when it makes sense. We also have a strong support system in place for entrepreneurs and other business services. Our goal is to provide support for existing businesses

The centerpiece of our life sciences community is the MedQuarter district, a catalyst for life sciences companies that connects the region with medical providers in a friendly, patient-centered environment that has helped to invigorate downtown Cedar Rapids.

while also looking for new opportunities for growth — both which are vitally important for creating a vibrant and economically stable community for residents.


Iowa’s only academic medical center, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, is located nearby, providing a steady source of highly trained medical professionals, along with the extraordinary quality of care associated with teaching hospitals. Local programs offered by Iowa State University and our area’s community colleges strengthen our workforce by delivering in-demand skills.



MARCH 2018



Cedar Rapids is well-positioned for companies that depend upon transportation. Our convenient central location, combined with the low cost of doing business here, makes Cedar Rapids a natural site for companies in the logistics, distribution, and trucking industries. It’s why transportation leaders like Thompson Trucking, Westside Transport, and CRST International are here — and it’s why national companies like Nordstrom Direct and H.J. Heinz decided to locate major distribution facilities in our area. Cedar Rapids has added more than 3 million square feet of distribution/warehouse space in recent years — and we have plenty of room for more.


You may not think of Cedar Rapids in the same category as Wall Street, but a number of top-tier insurance and financial services firms call us home, including Transamerica, Wells Fargo, BMO Harris, Toyota Financial Services, True North, and United Fire Group. Those and others in the sector appreciate our businessfriendly climate and our community’s highly skilled talent. In fact, Iowa’s insurance industry output ranks third nationally.


Clinton CAPACITY Des MoinesFOR GROWTH Davenport


$58.12 $89.60 $56.30 $58.12


edar Rapids’ water and wastewater $48.90 systems Dubuque $56.30 Des Moines have approximately 10 million gallons of excess $46.90 W. Des Moines $48.90 capacity available daily — enough to comfortably Dubuque meet our community’s needs$46.90 today$44.06 and accommodate Iowa City W. Des Moines for future residential and industrial growth. $31.30 $44.06

Proposed Iowa City CR

Cedar Rapids provides lime-softened drinking water to Waterloo $31.30 $30.35 Proposed CR residents and businesses, which reduces or eliminates $30.10 depending on the cost forCedar water Rapids softeners$30.35 and filters, Waterloo customer needs.

Cedar Rapids


50 $100

$$30.10 $

The City of Cedar Rapids offers affordable utilities and enterprise-area$rates. 0 $Proposed 50 $100rates remain competitive with other Iowa communities — one more advantage in attracting industry growth.

Wastewater Treatment Rates (FY18)

Cedar Rapids offers an abundance of resources, including supportive state laws, cooperative local leaders, and a large pool of workers who understand insurance and financial services. State universities and local colleges offer highly educated graduates who are ready to prove themselves, and convenient ways for existing employees to expand their knowledge. The cost of doing business here is substantially lower than in the nation’s other financial centers, so profitability is higher and compensation goes farther. In Cedar Rapids, employees can enjoy a quality of life that would be out of reach in most places. Plus, we’re in the Central time zone, making it easier to do business with both coasts. Cedar Rapids has plenty of choices in existing office space and land that’s ready for development, as well as one of the nation’s fastest dark fiber networks, giving data centers and customer service centers the bandwidth and speed they need.

Softened Water Rates (FY18)

ENTREPRENEURSHIP & BUSINESS SERVICES If you have an innovative idea for a company or are ready to grow beyond the initial stages of business, it’s hard to think of a better place than Cedar Rapids. Our leaders and business community believe in the potential of business, so there’s plenty of support for startups. The resources to support companies — from financing to allied industries — are strong, established, and open to ideas.

Tech-based startups can benefit from the Iowa Startup Accelerator program, which matches new companies in food/bio, health, education, manufacturing, and transportation technology with the resources they need to move into the next level. The EDC ( is also a valuable community resource that offers entrepreneurs guidance, advice and connections to available resources and incentives. With a strong, diverse base of existing companies, Cedar Rapids is also an excellent fit for professional service providers such as attorneys, architects, and engineers, as well as regional sales operations and other ventures that need technical services and back-office support. Our city has plenty of choices in existing office space, multi-use facilities, land that is ready for development, and co-lab and maker spaces that are ideally suited for entrepreneurs.



COLLABORATING WITH BUSINESSES TO INCREASE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND PROSPERITY Retaining businesses in Cedar Rapids is an important part of increasing economic opportunity and prosperity for all citizens who live, work or visit our community.


or several years, the City of Cedar Rapids

are primary challenges facing many businesses.

has coordinated joint business retention

This is one of the primary reasons that business

programming with the Cedar Rapids

retention remains a key objective of the City’s

Metro Economic Alliance. The City and Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance collaborate to visit with interstate commerce companies and strive to find solutions for any business hurdles to expansion in Cedar Rapids. Through this partnership, the City and Economic Alliance are able to reach more businesses and effectively respond to their business needs.

strategic plan for economic development. Economic Development staff conducts outreach visits with existing business and industry to obtain a more complete picture of the local economy. The City adds original content and analysis in the Cedar Rapids Business Survey in an effort to highlight trends and conditions impacting local companies. To view this

Since 2016, the City has published an annual

comprehensive report, please visit

business retention survey that found that

workforce attraction and workforce retention




MARCH 2018

The City’s Economic Development team meets with

Recognizing the unique characteristics of all

a representative cross-section of Cedar Rapids

businesses, Economic Development staff provides

businesses — major employers, small and medium-

customized solutions by obtaining a precise

sized enterprises, and startups — to help minimize

understanding of the company conditions. Typical

obstacles and challenges to growth that may be

action for workforce development includes

facing a company. Some of the challenges that a

connecting businesses with Kirkwood Community

business may encounter involve the regulatory

College. Opportunities through Kirkwood include

review process or public services and infrastructure

engaging the Industry Sector Board, providing a

needs. Every business retention challenge is

training or certificate program, or administering

unique; therefore, there is no standard solution.

the Iowa New Jobs Training Program. The City also

In many ways, business retention activity provides a basic level of information gathering that supports all other economic development functions.

collaborates with IowaWorks and non-profits like Goodwill of the Heartland to increase awareness and visibility of specialized workforce programs. The City of Cedar Rapids is proud of the businesses

The Economic Development team utilizes opportunities to engage with the private sector through business attraction, support of partner organizations working on entrepreneurship, regional workforce development, or by involvement in economic development policy matters. City staff is able to connect existing industry with business assistance programs when those companies seek to utilize Cedar Rapids incentive programs as part of

that have chosen our community to provide goods and services, as well as use our talented workforce. Retaining these businesses by helping them grow and thrive is a continuing goal of the City’s economic development policy and decision-making. The City is pleased to be a partner in the vitality and economic success of businesses and industries that call Cedar Rapids home.

planned business expansions.


1 Connect with Businesses

Meet with a representative cross-section of Cedar Rapids businesses:

2 Identify Needs & Challenges

Recognize unique needs of the business, such as:

3 Facilitate Solutions

Provide customized resolutions, such as:













PRIVATE INVESTMENT Cedar Rapids has garnered a reputation as a strong, supportive business environment, in part due to City leaders working closely with new and existing businesses — large and small — to succeed.


ne factor of Cedar Rapids' economic development strength is the City's willingness to reward and encourage companies taking risks and making investments into the community.

In 2014, the Cedar Rapids City Council adopted a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which serves as the framework for the City’s role in encouraging a strong local economy. Part of this “playbook” identifies using financial incentives as a way to strategically invest in projects, serving as a catalyst for additional private investment. Investing financially in local projects leads to a higher quality of life for residents by creating and retaining jobs, offering new amenities and services, supporting diverse housing options, and creating opportunity for infrastructure and utility improvements. Local governments have limited financial tools available for economic development purposes, relying on property taxes as their key revenue stream for all public service projects. With that in mind, Cedar Rapids has two tools to provide financial incentives that encourage developers to take the lead: allow an exemption of property taxes, or capture and rebate increased property taxes, also known as tax increment financing (TIF). The fundamental requirement for either incentive is that there must be private investment first, which creates increased property value and which results in increased tax revenue for the City and its citizens. Without private investment and increased property taxes, there is no basis for providing an incentive.




MARCH 2018

How do property tax incentives work? Let’s look at an example of converting a historic commercial building into new housing units.

So how does the City decide which projects warrant incentives? The City’s Economic Development Strategy identifies the type of projects that are eligible for incentives — this framework outlines the City’s priorities, shows how the City invests resources, and provides a marketing tool for development. Examples of projects that may be eligible for incentives include historic preservation projects, projects that create 10 or more new high quality jobs, and projects that require local funds to leverage state funding. While economic development tools such as TIF are most commonly associated with high profile brick and mortar projects, they are also instrumental in underground investments that create “good bones” and help attract future development. Roads, sanitary sewer, water infrastructure — all are necessary for successful private investment to take place. While less noticeable, these strategic investments have provided the basis for future growth in key corridors of the City and serve to make the City competitive at attracting significant projects.

In the end, the developer was incentivized to invest in the area, residents benefited from new housing and increased economic development, and the area is now more attractive for additional private investment, creating a positive spillover effect.

In Cedar Rapids, TIF has helped revitalize several corridors that are now flourishing. In the southwest side of town, for example, TIF helped create a 534 percent increase in property value, and lead to more than $31 million in public improvement projects. Road improvements were also spurred through this TIF funding, including segments of 18th Street SW, Wright Brothers Boulevard, and 76th Avenue SW. Public improvements helped attract additional retailers to the area, including Nordstrom Catalog Center, National Computer Systems, Highway Equipment Company, and Pearson.



Got a great business idea? The Cedar Rapids MICRO program may be able to help!



MICRO Loan program grant was just what SwineTech

provide existing businesses a boost. The result was a MICRO

founders Abraham Espinoza and Matthew Rooda

Loan program that was launched in September 2015.

needed to jump start their business. “The Micro

Loan program helped SwineTech validate its inventions prior to closing a Series A round of funding. If it were not for the program, we may not have been able to stay afloat,” said Rooda. SwineTech is creating solutions to reduce the number of piglets that die from disease, starvation, and crushing, which costs the industry more than $8.9 billion per year. SwineTech's patented technology, SmartGuard, uses advanced acoustic engineering, proprietary algorithms, and

“This program is providing support and assistance to small business owners in our community who otherwise might not have the resources to launch their business,” said Jasmine Almoayed, Cedar Rapids Economic Development Manager. “Not only does it help with financing essential business needs, but participants also receive assistance with creating a business plan, and ongoing mentorship and support.”

machine learning to filter and detect when a piglet is getting

Two librarians at the Cedar Rapids Public Library have been

crushed. SwineTech also provides farmers with a swine-

specially trained to help applicants through the process

management feature that can provide farmers with a real-

of completing a basic loan application, including writing a

time health analysis of each sow, enabling them to detect,

business plan, finding expert resources, and connecting

isolate, and treat a potential viral outbreak in their facilities.

applicants with the necessary steps to be successful.

The City of Cedar Rapids wants to help dreams come true for aspiring entrepreneurs in our

All Cedar Rapids start ups or expansions are eligible. Citizens with ideas for core neighborhoods are especially encouraged to apply.

community like Espinoza and

The MICRO program provides $1,000 to $10,000 for up to

Rooda’s SwineTech business. To

three years at a four percent interest rate.

help small businesses grow, the City created a diverse publicprivate partnership to help people who don’t quality for traditional loans start a new business or

The City of Cedar Rapids partnered with the Community Foundation, the Cedar Rapids Public Library, the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), the local SCORE chapter, and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in developing and administering the program.

To get started with the program please contact Nancy Geiger or Yongan Wu at the Cedar Rapids Public Library at 319-261-READ, or contact

14 Nancy by email at and YonganOat U R C R | M A R C HFor 2 0more 1 8 information, please visit

Resources for New Businesses Cedar Rapids is fortunate to have several organizations that assist entrepreneurs with advice and support when starting a small business. If you are interested in opening a business in Cedar Rapids, explore these resources for help. Small Business Development Center (SBDC) The Kirkwood Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is located in the Kirkwood Training and Outreach Service facility in Marion. The SBDC provides one-onone, confidential counseling, learning opportunities, and connections to federal, state and local resources. If you are in need of business planning, financing options, market research, loan proposal assistance, business growth strategies, new business guidance, business succession strategies and business disaster counseling, contact the SBDC. Request information at 319-377-8256. Entrepreneurial Development Center The Entrepreneurial Development Center works with emerging and existing businesses to connect them to resources and provide guidance and advice. EDC focuses on interstate and international commerce business models headquartered in Iowa. If you have an idea for a new business or are working to improve your existing business, the EDC may be able to help. Contact them at 319-369-4955. SCORE SCORE is a nonprofit association supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration that helps small businesses through mentoring, free business tools, and workshops. SCORE East Central Iowa has more than 50 counselors that represent

W W W. C E D A R - R A P I D S . O R G

2,000 years of business experience that help with all types of small businesses. For more information, call 319-362-6943 or go to Cedar Rapids Entrepreneur Program (CREP) The Cedar Rapids Entrepreneur Program (CREP) recruits and selects entrepreneurs who reside in the Wellington Heights community or surrounding underserved neighborhoods. Participants receive support through one-on-one coaching, groups and workshops. They work with specialized coaches and mentors and receive access to technology tools. The program is hosted at the Paul Engle Center, in Wellington Heights. Transportation and child care support is available. Receive more information at 319-364-0067. Business Assistance Revolving Loan Fund The East Central Iowa Council of Governments has established a loan pool that assists new and existing businesses in development and expansion. Candidates must be a new or expanding business in Benton, Iowa, Jones, Linn and Washington Counties; create or retain jobs, and must demonstrate the need for gap funding. The proposal must show how the project will support and enhance the regional economy. Find information at



CRST Headquarters

CRST made downtown Cedar Rapids home to its world headquarters in 2016 following the completion of this $31-million project. Located along the river at 201 1st Street SE, the 11-story building included construction of a segment of floodwall. CRST occupies two floors of the 113,000 squarefoot office tower, which included eight floors of office space built above three floors of parking accommodating 240 vehicles and ground-level retail space. Bankers Trust occupies the top two floors of the building. Developed by Cedar Real Estate Group III, LLC, this project replaced a former parking garage, changing the face of the downtown Cedar Rapids landscape. The building’s design included balconies with full views of the river and a second floor that extends over the water.

CEDAR RAPIDS HOME TO COMPANIES WITH EXCEPTIONAL GROWTH Each year, Inc. Magazine publishes its list of the fastest-growing businesses in America — the Inc. 5000. To qualify, companies must be independent, privately-owned, located in the United States, and meet certain revenue thresholds. Of qualifying companies, those with the fastest three-year revenue growth rates are selected. Inc. 5000 firms exhibit very high growth compared with their peers, which makes them vital to the economy.

Cedar Rapids was ranked #16 in the nation, and was recognized as one of eight medium-sized metro area with a high density of Inc. 5000 companies. We are the only city in Iowa to receive this designation.


Smulekoff’s Redevelopment

Shadow River, LLC has undertaken this $15-million historical preservation project that converts the more than 70-yearold Smulekoff’s furniture building into apartments, offices and retail space. The 100,000 square foot project provides much needed downtown housing while offering renters the option of micro apartment units, geared for young professionals coming to work downtown. The building is home to Eastbank Venue and Lounge and Early Bird coffee shop.



MARCH 2018

FIVE SEASONS. INFINITE SUCCESS. These recent, larger economic development initiatives have created jobs, rehabilitated flood impacted property and converted vacant buildings into growing and prosperous business locations. While we are highlighting nine projects here, there are countless others that are contributing to the quality of life in Cedar Rapids.

The Clock House

The Clock House project creatively adapted a former furniture building into a mixed-use, commercial and residential development project. The building, located at 600 1st Street SE, had been vacant before the June 2008 flood and was an opportunity to turn a blighted property, that was flood damaged, into a development that provided condominiums, commercial and office space near the new federal courthouse. Developer, Clock House, LLC, preserved the exterior brick while renovating the building’s interior, resulting in a $5.3-million investment in the neighborhood. Black Sheep Social Club and Clock House Brewing are located in this building in addition to 11 condo units.



NewBo Station

Home to new businesses Raygun and Pig and Porter, the NewBo Station project contributes to the success and popularity of the NewBo District. New Bohemia Station, LLC, constructed the building at 1020 3rd Street SE, close to the NewBo Market. It provides 14 market rate apartments in this desirable neighborhood steps away from restaurants, coffee shops and a year-round market. The project resulted in a $4-million investment in the neighborhood.

MidAmerican Aerospace

Utilizing the large, 117,000 square foot, vacated former K-Mart building in southwest Cedar Rapids, MidAmerican Aerospace and Hanrahan Investment converted the space into the business headquarters of MidAmerican Aerospace. The project demonstrates how available retail space can be adapted for alternative purposes. The building provides 100,000 square feet of warehouse, shipping, receiving and processing space, 10,000 square feet of offices and a 7,000 square foot employee fitness center. MidAmerican Aerospace buys and dismantles retired aircraft, and then sells or leases their engines and aircraft parts that are overhauled and returned to service. They moved from a 45,000 square foot facility on Blairs Ferry to this location at 2727 16th Avenue SW. The project resulted in a $5-million investment in the neighborhood.




MARCH 2018

Lil’ Drug Store Products Headquarters

Lil’ Drug Store Products is currently under construction on a new 100,000 square foot world headquarters at 9320 Earhart Lane SW, east of Interstate 380 in southwest Cedar Rapids. The project creates a $12-million facility that will serve as Lil’ Drug Store Products home office and distribution center. The project is LEED certified, meeting high design standards. It will create 11 new jobs as well as retain 50 existing jobs in Cedar Rapids. Lil’ Drug Store Products was founded in 1974 with the simple idea of providing travelers single doses of common over-thecounter medicines at convenience stores. Today, the company’s products are sold in more than 100,000 retail locations and its product portfolio has expanded into the health and beauty care, automotive, general merchandise and healthy snack categories.

Mott Lofts

The Mott Lofts project converted a historic warehouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, into both commercial businesses and residential apartments. Hobart Historic Restoration rehabilitated the building to create 16 market-rate, high end apartments that feature historic architectural detailing. The project resulted in a $5-million investment along the river, at 42 7th Avenue SW, close to the McGrath Amphitheatre. Commercial businesses occupy the first floor of the building. The project features river views, ample parking and a city park next door.

Berthel Fisher Financial Center

This $12-million development project, developed by 42nd and Edgewood, LLC, provides high-end office space, retail businesses and a restaurant. It serves as home to Berthel Fisher, Capriottis, and Wine Styles at 4201 42nd Street NW. The project continued the growth of the corporate and commercial corridor that features the Transamerica campus and the new office-commercial development, The Fountains. Berthel Fisher added 85 jobs in Cedar Rapids.

Grand Living at Indian Creek

Grand Living at Indian Creek is a 4-story, 192,000 square foot senior housing complex. It is currently under construction and will feature 164 units that include independent, assisted and memory care units with an additional 20,000 square foot underground parking garage. Residences will range in sizes from studio to 2 bedroom with a den. Grand Living at Indian Creek will feature formal, casual, and private dining in addition to a bistro and club room. It will also include a theater, wellness center and spa, library, woodworking shop, chapel, pet grooming center, piano and instrumental practice rooms. The project is located at 325 Collins Road SE and is anticipated to open in 2019. Ryan Companies US, Inc. developed this project that is a $32-million investment in Cedar Rapids and will create 70 new jobs.



THIS SPRING TAKE THE CHALLENGE! Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids’ City Manager is challenging citizens to collect at least one bag of litter to help Clean Up CR. Get together with a group of friends, commit to the challenge in coordination with Earth Week, or just pick up trash on your daily walks.




ou can participate in City government by serving on one of the more than 30 City boards, commissions and

advisory committees. These advisory

Pick up your litter collection kit at designated Cedar Rapids Hy-Vee Food or Drug Store customer service counter or other participating organizations.

groups partner with the Cedar Rapids City Council and City staff to guide the future of our city. Learn how you can apply to

Fill the bag with litter you find around your neighborhood, place of work, or wherever you see the need.

serve on one of these boards on the City’s

Set the full bag beside your GARBY cart on your normal garbage collection day. The special City Manager's Challenge bags do not require an extra $1.50 sticker. If you do not have a GARBY cart, handle the bag as you would your regular trash.

on “Local Government” and then on “City

website,, by clicking Boards & Commissions.” Women, minorities and qualified persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Download and submit

Litter can be collected from the right of way throughout the city with a few exceptions: Residents should not enter the Interstate to pick up litter, unless they are part of a sanctioned group. Residents should not pick up litter on private property without permission. You can get as many litter collection kits as you think you will use. If you are interested in picking up litter on a continuous basis or have a group interested in picking up litter, contact the Cedar Rapids Solid Waste & Recycling Office at 319-286-5897, so we can get you the supplies you need. Find locations to pick up your kit at




MARCH 2018

your application today.

Completed applications may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office, located in City Hall at 101 First Street SE, or sent by email to Boards&Commissions@ For more information, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 319-2865060, or by using the same email address. Applications are due by April 30, 2018.



aving for Progress continues to make noticeable improvements to Cedar Rapids’ roadways. Last summer, almost 8 miles of roadway were transformed — 26

projects — most of which were in the heart of our residential neighborhoods. Early construction is already beginning on several 2018 projects, including O Avenue NW. The program began during the summer of 2014 and started with smaller projects that could begin immediately. It has since evolved to include a 10-year capital improvement plan hinged on a prioritization list and treatment methods based on data.



The plan was published in 2015 and updated in 2017. The plan will continue to be updated every two years to address

C Avenue NE

changing needs in the city’s infrastructure. The local option sales tax has made it possible to begin making these substantial roadway improvements — going beyond basic maintenance and instead conducting much needed


reconstruction on both the surface and underground utilities.

• Linear miles of roadway improved: 33.91

Public outreach has been ongoing for the life of the program,

• Projects completed: 106

and includes neighborhood meetings and an online database. Residents have access to the full 10-year plan on the City’s website, in addition to a map of projects that have been completed or underway, project material, and access to e-newsletters.

• 70 percent of completed projects have been local / residential

• 30 percent of completed projects have been arterial

To learn more visit




Brad Hart

CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS Cedar Rapids City Council meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 12:00 p.m. and the fourth Tuesday of the month at a new time of 5:30 p.m. Meetings are held in the Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 101 1st Street SE. Video of each regular Council session is posted on the City's website by the Friday afternoon after the meeting. The searchable recordings are indexed by agenda item number, making it easy for residents to view council proceedings on a specific agenda item. Cedar Rapids City Council meetings also air on public access channels each week. ImOn: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 6 Mediacom: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. on Channel 4

NEW IN 2018! City Council meetings are now being streamed live from the City's Facebook page.


Mayor Brad Hart has been a business lawyer for more than 35 years, first in Houston, Texas and since 1990 in Cedar Rapids at the firm of Bradley & Riley PC. He works with his clients on a variety of business matters and acquisitions. He has received the highest rating from Martindale Hubbell, been listed in Best Lawyers in America and Chambers, and been named the Lawyer of the Year in Iowa for Corporate and Mergers & Acquisitions Law. He received his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and law degree from Houston College of Law. Brad volunteers hundreds of hours each year and has been actively involved with more than a dozen community organizations and causes. He has served on the boards of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce, Young Parents Network, Horizons, and United Way of East Center Iowa. Brad and his wife Jade are parents to son Will, who lives in Denver, and daughter Alison, who lives in Geneva, Illinois, with her husband, Tom, and Brad’s grandchildren, Jimmy and Grace.



Martin Hoeger

Martin has spent his career working in Real Estate Development, including time as the City of Cedar Rapids Real Estate Development Coordinator and the Executive Director for the Neighborhood Development Corporation. He is currently employed as the Businesses Development Manager for Graham Construction. Martin graduated from LaSalle High School in Cedar Rapids and the Kirkwood Real Estate program. Martin serves on the boards of CRNetwork, St. Luke’s Foundation, Neighborhood Development Corp, Downtown SSMID, and the I Know Jack Foundation. He has three children, Jack 18, Ben 15, and Ella 14, with his wife Jennifer. Martin enjoys golfing, bike riding and spending time with his family at their cabin in Bellevue, Iowa.



MARCH 2018

Scott Overland

Scott has over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry as an advisor, and is Vice President of Investments at Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust. His primary role is providing investment advice and management for individuals and businesses in the Cedar Rapids area. Scott graduated from Luther College in 1985. He has been involved in community organizations including Daybreak Rotary, Big Brother Big Sisters and Habitat for Humanity. Scott and his wife Jan have two adult daughters, Andrea residing in Cedar Rapids, and Abbey residing in Washington, DC. He has a granddaughter, Isadora.




Tyler Olson

Tyler is President of SiteGen Solar and CEO of Paulson Electric. Before joining Paulson Electric, Tyler practiced law at Bradley & Riley in Cedar Rapids for five years. He graduated from Claremont McKenna College and the University of Iowa College of Law. Tyler has served on numerous boards for local nonprofit organizations and in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015. He helped lead the change from commission form of government to the current council-city manager form of government in Cedar Rapids. Tyler was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. He has two children and is engaged to Majda Sarkic.


Dale Todd

Dale is the VP of Development for the Hatch Development Group, creating mixed income, affordable housing communities. He served as the Commissioner of Parks and Public Property from 1998-2002. Dale graduated from Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, attended Coe College, and graduated from Mount Mercy with bachelor degrees in criminal justice and political science. He has worked with many community organizations, serving on more than 40 commissions, boards and task forces. He was an early leader of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association and has served on national epilepsy-related boards and organizations. He is a past chair of the Iowa Commission on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. He and his wife Sara have a son Adam.

Ann Poe

Ann is currently the Executive Director at Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center. Previously she has worked as a physical therapy technician at St. Luke’s Hospital and in the marketing, communications, public relations and event planning fields. She served as the executive assistant to Governor Chet Culver, and Community Liaison for the Rebuild Iowa Office following the devastating floods of June 2008. Ann also served as Executive Director of the NewBo City Market. Ann was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and graduated from Kennedy High School. Ann is married to Paul James. She has three adult children, Andria, Britni, and Jordan, and has four grandchildren.

Susie Weinacht

Susie is self-employed working in the areas of strategic planning, finance, negotiation and project management. She received degrees in early childhood, health/fitness and education from Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University. She has continuing education certificates from Pacific Institute and Disney Institute Keys of Excellence. Susie has been involved in the community through Kids on Course, Zach Johnson Foundation, NAACP, The History Center, Downtown Rotary, Junior League, United Way, and local, city and statelevel PTA. She has served on the Blue Zones Advisory Council, Parks and Recreation Commission, Regional Workforce Investment Board, Long Term Flood Recovery Task Force, Housing Fund of Linn County, Horizons, Five Seasons Stand Down and Valor Inc.



Scott Olson

Scott graduated from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids and Iowa State University with a degree in architecture. He is a certified facility manager as well as a registered architect. He has worked in real estate development since 1975, owning properties and working for Skogman Realty. Scott has been active in over 50 civic, community and professional organizations on a local, regional and national level including human service agencies, low-income housing groups, and development organizations. He has served on city and county commissions and task forces. Scott is involved with real estate, facility management, housing, marketing, architectural, and economic development professional organizations. He and his wife Penny have two children, Scott II and Jill.

W W W. C E D A R - R A P I D S . O R G

Ashley Vanorny

Ashley is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian who graduated from Jefferson High School. She received degrees in criminal justice, psychology and political science from Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Des Moines University and is employed at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics as a Support Analyst. Ashley is active in Junior League and serves on boards including Families Helping Families of Iowa, Hawkeye Chapter of ACLU and the Linn County League of Women Voters. She is also involved as an advisor to Gamma Phi Beta-Rho Chapter and Staff Council Representative at the University of Iowa. She enjoys time with her pets Lady and Liberty.





MARCH 2018






900 76 Avenue Drive SW



City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW


Bid Opportunities

City Hall, 101 1st Street SE


Building and Housing Codes

City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW



Ground Transportation Center, 450 1st Street SE


Fire Safety Inspections

713 1st Avenue SE


Garbage, Recycling and Yard Waste Collection

City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW



Housing Assistance Programs

City Hall, 101 1st Street SE


Land Development

City Hall, 101 1st Street SE


Park Rentals

Northwest Recreation Center, 1340 11th Street NW


Potholes and Street City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW Maintenance

319-286-5802 (option 2)

Recreation Programs


Sewer Backup or Problems City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW

319-286-5802 (option 2)

Traffic Signals, Signs and City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW Markings

319-286-5802 (option 2)

Utility Billing



Northwest Recreation Center, 1340 11th Street NW

City Hall, 101 1st Street SE

For more information about the City of Cedar Rapids and its services, call 319-286-5080 or visit



April 2 - 27, 2018 Residents can expect collection of leaves on their regular garbage day unless the trucks are slowed by weather or volume.

Subscribe to CR News Now to receive short messages from the City of Cedar Rapids delivered directly to your mobile phone or email inbox. • Holiday Garbage Collection Reminders • City Job Openings • Road Closures • Emergency Alerts • and more!


Our CR - March 2018  

A successful business climate directly supports the quality of life for our residents, which is why Cedar Rapids takes a strategic approach...

Our CR - March 2018  

A successful business climate directly supports the quality of life for our residents, which is why Cedar Rapids takes a strategic approach...