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CZECH VILLAGE / NEW BOHEMIA MAIN STREET DISTRICT

STRATEGIC REVITALIZATION PLAN


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

THE FOLLOWING GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS CONTRIBUTED TO THE REVITALIZATION PLAN: STEERING COMMITTEE

Mel Andriga

Jon Jelinek

Jennifer Pruden

Lu Barta Barron

Craig McCormick

Gary Rozek

Robert Becker

Todd McNall

Bob Schaffer

Sarika Bhakta

Kory Nanke

John Schnipkoweit

Christine Butterfield

Gail Naughton

Kyle Skogman

Lijun Chadima

Bret Nilles

Bill Stone

Brian Fagan

Quinn Pettifer

Mike Tertinger

Marilee Fowler

Ann Poe

Chris Wand

Tony Golobic

Jennifer Pratt

Kristie Wetjen

ORGANIZATIONS Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street District

City of Cedar Rapids

New Bohemia Group

Citizens of the District

Southside Investment Board

Czech Village Association

District Stakeholders

OPN ARCHITECTS, INC. Kate Beihl

Heather Lynxwiler

Brady Dorman

Toby Olsen

Š 2013 Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street District

Daniel Thies Roger Worm


Vision................................................................................................................................ 1 District Boundaries.......................................................................................................... 3 Historic Context............................................................................................................... 5 Rising Waters................................................................................................................... 7 Landscape Today.............................................................................................................. 9 Process / Approach........................................................................................................ 11 Survey Results .............................................................................................................. 14

ANALYSIS

Contextual Analysis....................................................................................................... 19 Architectural Inventory.................................................................................................. 21 Promote Growth (Branding)........................................................................................... 31 The Power of Whimsy..................................................................................................... 35

DESIGN STRATEGIES

Anchors & Catalysts...................................................................................................... 39 Human Comfort.............................................................................................................. 41 Urban Experience.......................................................................................................... 43 Residential Living........................................................................................................... 45 Commercial & Mixed Use.............................................................................................. 47 Connections & Gateways.............................................................................................. 55 Streetscapes.................................................................................................................. 57

CONCEPTS

District Parking.............................................................................................................. 65 Infill New Bohemia.......................................................................................................... 67 Infill Czech Village.......................................................................................................... 69 Recreation / Greenspace............................................................................................... 71 Connections & Gateways.............................................................................................. 75 Implementation Strategy............................................................................................... 77 Vision New Bohemia...................................................................................................... 80 Vision Czech Village....................................................................................................... 81

TA B L E O F C O N T E N TS

INTRODUCTION


VISION THE CZECH VILLAGE/NEW BOHEMIA URBAN MAIN STREET DISTRICT IS A VIBRANT URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD MODEL FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE MIDWEST, A DESTINATION FOR BOTH RESIDENTS AND VISITORS. BUILDING ON ITS UNIQUE HISTORY, THE DISTRICT IS A DYNAMIC ARTS AND CULTURE VENUE THAT WILL PROVIDE INTERESTING, AUTHENTIC, AND ENRICHING EXPERIENCES. THE DISTRICT COMPLEMENTS THE DOWNTOWN WITH A VARIETY OF SHOPPING, DINING, ARTS, AND CULTURAL ENTERTAINMENT OPPORTUNITIES THAT CANNOT BE FOUND ELSEWHERE.


THE DISTRICT Cedar Rapids is in a period of unprecedented urban and civic renewal. As the community continues to build back from the 2008 floods, citizens are redoubling their efforts to push the city beyond recovery and into full-scale revitalization. Out of the devastation of the fifth largest natural disaster in America’s history, city leaders and neighborhood champions have re-calibrated the city’s trajectory, charting a bold course toward a more vibrant urban landscape. Two of our city’s most unique and important neighborhoods are playing a key role in this rebirth — Czech Village and New Bohemia. Individually, these areas are vibrant, growing and home to some of the region’s most valued cultural assets. Together, they comprise the Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street District (the District). The District’s historical identity combined with its cultural and commercial assets has become a powerful magnet for urban redevelopment. While the area is already a destination for entertainment, dining, and shopping, it has the potential for extraordinary future growth. Today, the District stands on the cusp of unparalleled opportunity. As investors rush to capitalize on the mix of attractions and open land in the area, the District is faced with the challenges that accompany rapid growth. Namely, how to guide investment in ways that will complement the area’s established identity while embracing growth. In many ways, the growth of the District is a barometer for the health and vitality of the city as a whole. The District is fast becoming the city’s flagship neighborhood — a magnet for citizens, tourists, and businesses, and a venue for the area’s most exciting events. While the District reaps the benefits of strong community support and investment, there is an urgent focus on creating a sustainable vision for the area. The Strategic Revitalization Plan (the Plan) for the District was created to help guide development while thoughtfully preserving and enhancing the District’s unique charm and architectural assets. The Plan incorporates past studies and urban master plans, significant public feedback and best practices for urban planning to create a road map for future growth. 1


MAP


THE DISTRICT DISTRICT BOUNDARIES Encompassing the Czech Village and New Bohemia neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids, the Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street District straddles the banks of the Cedar River on the city’s southeast side. Just south of the city’s primary downtown business district, the area spans approximately forty blocks bounded by 8th Avenue SE, the former Union Pacific railroad line, and former Sinclair site on the east side of the river as well as three blocks centered on 16th Avenue SW from 1st Street SW to the river. The District was formed in May of 2009 to breathe economic life into these areas (appendix: National Register for Historic Places). The District is one of the first urban neighborhood models in the state of Iowa and its designation fosters connectivity to shared amenities and attractions while maintaining each neighborhood’s unique culture. The District includes a wide mix of small businesses; arts, culture and entertainment venues; and former industrial sites. The Main Street Model is an incremental process for encouraging economic development and historic preservation. This model has proven successful in communities across the country. Today, construction is prevalent throughout the District. The creative cultural community has embraced the District bringing new and return visitors who spread the word about the exciting improvements. Through consistent application of Main Street’s Four Point Approach®, the District is becoming the city’s most desirable place to live, work, and play.

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01 R. Kriz Furniture 42 16th Avenue SW

02 Delivery truck in front of T.M. Sinclair & Company

03 T.M. Sinclair & Company Packing House

06 1900, The Western Bohemian Fraternal Order at the dedication for the new C.S.P.S. Hall

04 St. Wenceslaus Church

05 Kadlec Brothers 16th Avenue SW


THE DISTRICT HISTORY AND CONTEXT The Czech Village and New Bohemia neighborhoods grew out of Cedar Rapids’ original Czech settlements. In the 1870s, there was an established population of Czech immigrants living on the east side of the river. In 1871, a new meatpacking facility, T.M. Sinclair & Company, began operation in Cedar Rapids. The new plant was very successful and generated a steady demand for workers. Many of the plant’s employees were Bohemian immigrants who lived near the plant. As more people found employment, word got out to friends and relatives still in Europe and waves of immigrants began arriving in Cedar Rapids to work at the Sinclair plant. The previously undeveloped area between downtown and the Sinclair plant quickly filled with housing and businesses. The rapid population growth in the area spurred new civic and economic investment, and the 1880s and 1890s saw the influx of additional industries and infrastructure. The area had excellent railroad access, which made it a prime location for factories. Smaller, mom-and-pop businesses cropped up between the railroad tracks and the river to serve the burgeoning population. In 1890, the Czech-Slovak Protective Society started construction on a large social hall. The beautiful, three-story building quickly became the heart of the Cedar Rapids Czech community and the neighborhood was christened Little Bohemia. Across the river, on the southwest side, a small commercial district was emerging. This area was a “melting pot” for Italian, Russian, Syrian and Czech immigrants. Between 1900 and 1910, the city of Cedar Rapids designated the area to the north of Little Bohemia as a warehouse / manufacturing district. Almost overnight, entire blocks of Little Bohemia were demolished. This dramatic event along with the opening of new factories across the river, prompted many Czech immigrants to move their homes and businesses to the West side. During the 1970s, this vibrant area became known as Czech Village. Both neighborhoods flourished as established centers of Czech heritage and tradition through the 1990s. While Czech Village retains that moniker, in 2000 Little Bohemia was reincarnated as New Bohemia. The name is a nod to the past, while recognizing the changing urban dynamics that are affecting this rapidly growing area.

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River

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100 yr. Flood Plain

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500 yr. Flood Plain

2008 flood

2008 Flood


THE DISTRICT RISING WATERS In June 2008 a destructive flood swept through Cedar Rapids. Hundreds of homes and businesses were lost including 300 city owned buildings and some of the city’s most prominent public structures. The flooding of the Cedar River caused an estimated $7 billion in damage, ranking it, at the time, among the top five natural disasters in U.S. history. It damaged more than 5,000 homes, and 1,000 businesses, many of them irreparably. It displaced city and county government offices and closed the public library, Paramount Theatre, Mercy Medical Center and many other community landmarks. Located adjacent to the river, both the Czech Village and New Bohemia neighborhoods were among the hardest hit. Floodwaters reached more than eight feet high in most buildings. Virtually all of the businesses and residential structures in the District were heavily damaged. Following the flood, the future of the District was uncertain. Many property owners sold and left the area, while others stayed and began the arduous task of rehabilitation. Remarkably, through the dedication and collaborative efforts of community leaders, business owners, and residents, many key businesses and organizations in the District were among the first to reopen their doors. While the pace of recovery has been impressive, signs of the flood are still visible in the District. Where once there were homes and businesses, open parcels of land stand ready for reinvention. Today, new projects are knitting the fabric of the District back together. Despite the extraordinary level of destruction experienced, members of the community are fully committed to build back better, and preserve the unique character and historic assets of the area. 7


THE DISTRICT LANDSCAPE TODAY Today, the District is an area rich in history, alive with music, and bustling with activity. The area has maintained its urban, industrial identity and historic architecture while introducing new businesses and attractions. Many world-class cultural venues including the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, African American Museum of Iowa, and CSPS provide history, culture, performing and fine arts; drawing visitors from all over the world. Live music is featured multiple days a week at many bars, restaurants, and outdoor venues. The District’s mix of restaurants, shops and entertainment draw thousands of visitors throughout the year. Popular annual events include: NewBo Arts Fest, EcoFest, Old Prague Christmas Market, Houby Days, St. Joseph’s Parade, 2x2xU, and Czech Fall Festival. The Bohemian spirit is very much integrated into the neighborhood with many community driven projects occurring on a grass-roots level. Over twenty-five artist studios showcase a variety of crafts and independent retailers offer a wide selection of goods including home furnishings, gifts and collectibles, antiques, and vintage finds. The District features three public parks near the Cedar River and the Kosek bandstand featuring live music throughout the summer. The Cedar River Trail passes through downtown Cedar Rapids, connecting the District to the nearby town of Ely. The area is surrounded by several well established residential neighborhoods including Oakhill Jackson, and Taylor which are home to schools, churches, and community organizations. St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, founded in 1874, continues to serve the community and carry on the Czech heritage.

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FORWARD MOTION The purpose of the Strategic Revitalization Plan is to develop an integrated and inclusive set of design recommendations and a preliminary set of concepts to guide development in the District. This plan creates a coherent development program that addresses the entire area and adjacent locations as appropriate. The Plan is intended to serve as the basis for further community dialogue regarding the District’s redevelopment. The Plan contains design guidelines and critical best practices for new development activities relative to their scale, conceptual design, and relationship to the neighborhoods and surrounding area. This framework also outlines best practices on how to respect the existing District’s urban context and character and includes conceptual images illustrating the form and character of the overall development approach. These Design Guidelines address desirable architectural and site development standards, and serve as a guiding framework for future redevelopment projects and improvements. They illustrate the intended character of new development in the District. The essence of the plan is to create an urban environment that will generate civic vitality that will encourage people to live, work and play in the District. Other supporting studies and relevant documents including the National Register of Historic Places, Overlay District Ordinance Requirements, City Flood Plan, market studies, and information on available funding options have been referenced and are included in the Appendix.

GOALS FOR THE DISTRICT Implement Flood Protection • Enhance Connectivity • Improve Recreation & Green Space • Improve Bicycle / Pedestrian Access • Connect East / West Sides of the River • Deepen Connection with Community • Create More Gathering Places • Increase Arts, Culture and Entertainment Opportunities • Develop New Housing Options • Increase Diversity of Commercial Businesses • Improve Wayfinding / Gateways / Parking • Redevelop Underutilized Lots • Convert Union Pacific Rail to Trail • Improve Lighting / Landscaping / Sidewalks • Establish 14th Avenue Extension • Embrace the River 11


+


FORWARD MOTION Guided by representatives from the District, city leaders, business owners, residents, and community members, the design team set out to learn as much as possible about the district in order to establish a baseline for future growth. The team started by asking: What already exists in the District? What types of businesses would be complementary to the existing businesses and institutions? What currently attracts people to the District? What makes the District unique? What are its identifying characteristics and attributes? What do outsiders say about the District? What are some of the major issues or obstacles affecting the District’s success? In order to answer these questions, the team designed an open and inclusive planning process that mixed analysis of best practices with a call for public ideas and input. The process included: Research into best practices in urban planning Benchmarking of similar areas nationwide Review of existing plans and guidelines for development in the District Analysis of the business survey (Market Study) Analysis of the consumer intercept survey (Market Study) Online public surveys (Revitalization Strategy) Open public workshops (Revitalization Strategy)

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SURVEY RESULTS what brings you to the district?

desired housing types

There’s always

something new & fun going on!

the historic character is important

92% agree or strongly agree

#1

#2

#3

#1

#2

#3

apartment loft / condo

single-family housing

townhouse

pedestrians

bicyclists

drivers

what’s missing from the district?

#1 RETAIL #2 HOUSING #3 DINING

the district should appeal to

what do you like about the area?

IT’S WHERE ALL THE MOST

WONDERFUL T H I N G S ARE HAPPENING!

It is an artistic and cultural gathering place with a strong link to its heritage. The buildings and the people have individuality and unique personalities. [The District is] a fun part of town!


FORWARD MOTION Public Input The public was invited to participate in the planning process through online surveys and two day-long, handson workshops. More than 400 people shared their vision for the District via the online surveys. While survey participants living in the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of Cedar Rapids accounted for 47% of all survey respondents, more than 30% of survey respondents indicated they live in the surrounding communities of Hiawatha, Marion, Iowa City or Coralville. In addition to the online response, more than 100 individuals attended the public workshops. These events allowed the public to engage in an open dialogue about the future of the District. The public process provided valuable feedback which directly informed the priorities and direction of the Plan. Detailed responses and raw data are available in the Appendix. Market Research The Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street organization spearheaded the market study process to promote a more in-depth understanding of local and regional market conditions and trends impacting the District’s current economic performance and opportunities for the future. The delivery of market analysis technical assistance and services were facilitated by Main Street Iowa as part of a comprehensive “self-help program” that provides extensive training and technical services to participating Iowa communities. Key steps: Collection and review of background information Analysis and summary of trade area demographic, lifestyle and economic data Consumer and business surveys (assistance provided by Mount Mercy University, ENACTUS members and Downtown Professionals Network) The final report provides a snapshot of the District during a time of transition and makes strategic recommendations for growth. 15


analysis 17


CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS The history and charm of the District is one of the city’s most important assets. When asked to evaluate the importance of the District’s historic character, 92% of survey respondents agreed that it is very important and should be preserved. It is critical that the District’s new structures be compatible with remaining historic buildings to preserve the story of the area and the character of the existing building stock should be protected provided it meets the needs of today or is significant in its architecture and history. While the District is working to preserve these historic structures, new designs need to be encouraged in order to re-knit the urban fabric and replace the structures lost in the flood. New structures must work with the local context without falsely replicating the past. Vital cities successfully mix building styles of high quality construction. Layers of buildings constructed over generations lend areas their unique style and architectural identity. Moving forward, successful redevelopment will balance variety in design with sensitive contextual infill. Urban street front elevations and scale for this area should be maintained when the district expands outward. In Czech Village in particular, walkable, dense, low rise structures built to the street edge are important to maintain the “village” look and feel. Throughout the District, careful analysis of structures hindering long-term growth potential should be completed as part of an up-to-date building inventory. Maintaining structures that have been damaged beyond repair or that lack historic significance or are not considered a ‘contributing building’ by the National Register of Historic Places, will stunt the growth of the district. It may be necessary to remove properties that are impeding growth to allow the development of new projects.

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01 ZCBJ / Chrome Horse Building

02 Hose Company No. 4

03 Suchy Building

04 Little Bohemia

05 Kosek Building

06 Sykora Bakery


ARCHITECTURAL INVENTORY Architectural typologies in the District include a varied and unique mix of historic and contemporary commercial, retail and service buildings, industrial facilities, and some small homes. Noticeable voids exist where buildings have been demolished. Other architectural styles present include Italianate, False-Front Vernacular, Romanesque, and Classical Revival, as well as Midwest Warehouse architecture and small works of specialty architecture. In the Czech Village commercial area, the original immigrants wanted to embrace their new country and they purposefully built in the American vernacular. In the 1960s efforts were made to superimpose a Central European character on the buildings. On the east side of the Cedar River, the Bohemian Commercial Historic District, now recognized as New Bohemia, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. New Bohemia includes the 1000 to 1300 blocks of 3rd Street SE and 100 to 200 blocks of 14th Avenue SE. In 2010 an expansion of the historic district to include Czech Village was submitted — this request is under consideration. New Bohemia’s significance is derived from the combination of building detail and its historic identity as a commercial center. Although the former Iowa Iron, Iowa Steel, and Sinclair plants have been cleared to create redevelopment sites, several former industrial and warehouse buildings remain. Other brick or limestone warehouse buildings include the Suchy Builing (fig.03), J.G. Cherry Building and the Peter Hach Bottling Works, which today are respectively known as Bata’s, the Cherry Building, Water Tower Place and Bottleworks Loft Condominiums. The larger scale of these buildings plays an important role in the urban structure of the New Bohemia District. There is no overriding architectural style in the District that could form the basis for infill design. The District’s character is defined by a combination of architectural styles. Current and future infill redevelopment requires keen attention to the scale, proportion, and details of proposed buildings within the context of the existing historic district. This does not mean future development should replicate the past in all instances, rather it should be sensitive to urban and architectural context. 21


01 African American Museum of Iowa

04 National Czech Slovak Museum and Library

02 Iowa State Savings Bank

03 Czech Cottage


ARCHITECTURAL INVENTORY The variety of architectural styles found in commercial buildings in the District are identifiable by their unique combination of materials and colors, the proportions of windows and doors and the detailing on s. Some of the District’s most prominent commercial buildings are Italianate in design. Italianate style is characterized by tall vertical windows, rich cornice detailing, and ornamental horizontal coursing across the front facade. Buildings like the Matyk Block Building (fig. 01) on 3rd Street SE set the horizontal datum lines, scale, massing, and the articulation of subsequent commercial buildings. While Italianate style established a baseline for design in the District, other influences, such as the national origins of the store proprietor or the individual tastes of an owner influenced the wide range of architecture. As larger community and civic buildings were constructed, the proportions of the facade elements became larger but the organizational principles remained the same: • Ground level commercial / retail spaces with large display windows • Display windows divided from the upper levels by a horizontal band at 12–14’ • Window proportions, lintel and sill detailing, and ornamental brick or iron work delineate upper floors • Corner entrances set at a forty-five degree angle to the street intersection • Decorative marble columns supporting rich, ornamental stonework at entrances • Rhythmic rows of arches or pilasters emphasize the grand scale Set among the architectural styles typical of commercial and retail uses, special function buildings, named event architecture because of their function, size, or infrastructure requirements, have unique facades that add variety to the streetscape. The Iowa State Savings Bank (fig. 02) building with its classical revival columns and high first floor ceilings is an example of event architecture on the east bank. The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library (fig. 04) on the west bank of the river is a contemporary example of event architecture. 23


01 NewBo Market

04 J.G. Cherry Building

04 Suchy Building

04 Hach Building


ARCHITECTURAL INVENTORY Urban Relationships: Commercial buildings in the District are generally built at the front property line with zero setback adjacent to the sidewalk. Many buildings share common side walls, and those that are separate are only eight to ten feet apart due to minimal side yard setback requirements. At the rear, most commercial buildings are built up to the property line but some have small rear yards for parking and delivery, or are used as work spaces. Mid-block alleys separate commercial lots from adjacent residential development on the opposite side of the block. The best examples include screening or buffer areas between the two uses. A variety of parking patterns exist in the Czech Village / New Bohemia District. Street parking allows convenient access to businesses. Parking areas to the rear or side of buildings help maintain a desirable vertical street edge. Parking lots in front of buildings or at street corners highly degrade the quality of an urban district. Size, Form and Volume Most of the buildings in the District have a small to medium size footprint, are only one or two stories high, and are set on narrow, deep lots. Some are joined into larger continuous facades but many are separated from adjacent buildings by alleys, driveways or vacant lots. A few larger community gathering type or warehouse buildings with more than three stories are located at prominent street intersections. Examples of this building type include BottleWorks and Water Tower Place and the restored C.S.P.S. Hall. The architectural detailing on these buildings’ facades allows them to co-exist with smaller adjacent structures. The J.G. Cherry Company Building on 11th Avenue is typical of Midwest warehouse and manufacturing architecture that becomes more prevalent closer to the central downtown area to the north. Occupying an entire half block, the Cherry Building is an example of a large building mass that incorporates cornice and corner detailing and rhythmic vertical elements. This building could serve as a guideline for new large footprint architecture in the the District.

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ARCHITECTURAL INVENTORY Residential Structures A thriving urban neighborhood includes the presence of residential areas that create 24/7 activity zones. Early residential structures in the District were mainly comprised of modest worker’s cottages with later construction including two-story bungalows and gable fronted wood-framed structures. The historic residential neighborhoods, adjacent to the District, consist of one- and two-story, detached, single family homes on small, narrow lots. The flood wiped away much of the District’s housing stock including almost all single-family residential buildings. The few that remain are distinguished by wood lap siding with small front porches, detached garages, and decorative gables. Recently, several higher density apartment residential structures have been constructed in the adjacent neighborhood of Oakhill Jackson, and plans are underway to create more housing in the area. When surveyed, Cedar Rapids residents were interested in seeing more apartments, condos, and townhouses developed in the area. Future development in the District should be contextually appropriate and deliberately strengthen the connectivity of the street grid. Commercial / Retail / Office As new housing brings round-the-clock activity to the District, the demand for retail stores and community services that provide employment and urban amenities is expected to increase. The existing shops, restaurants and office spaces in the District are a great start, but there are many commercial infill redevelopment sites available in the District. When infill projects expand to include the renovation of adjacent existing buildings, their economic viability is enhanced. With the removal of several large factory complexes along 12th Avenue SE, and by combining smaller vacant or under-utilized lots, there are prime sites in the District suitable for larger scale, multi-tenant retail buildings. The District should work to balance the businesses established in these spaces, with a focus on street-level retail and dining experiences that promote activity beyond the 9 to 5 business hours. 27


ARCHITECTURAL INVENTORY Details and Facades Rich ornamental and functional facade detailing lends historic commercial districts their unique charm. The District is no exception. Each building was carefully designed to express the character and status of the business inside it, and was the pride of each and every business owner. Small brick and ironwork details between the lower and upper floor levels, at each window and door, and along the upper roof edges can be found on buildings throughout the District. These details are often overlooked because of the condition of the existing buildings and the number of vacant lots between them. A study of these small works of architecture reveal an entire vocabulary of design elements just waiting to be reinterpreted on the facades and roof tops of new buildings in the District. Materials Commercial buildings in the District are primarily brick with limestone or metalwork cornices, window lintels, and sills. Brick colors range from orange-red to light red, with tan or gold color brick accents. Only a few of the oldest buildings, mainly in Czech Village, have wood siding. Facades at major street intersections and special building entrances are made of stone or terra cotta, with marble or granite columns. Although many of the intricate metal cornices and other less permanent features have been removed, it is possible that in renovating historic buildings, detail elements could be reconstructed, guided by the use of old photographs. Historic Signage Historically, building signage was either incorporated into the building facades with brick patterns, stone insets, or mounted in the horizontal band area above the first floor storefront windows. There is also a tradition of painting store names on window glass or mounting small signs perpendicular to the building facades. In addition to traditional signing, business names are embedded in the sidewalk with ceramic tile. These sidewalk panels can be found near the ZCBJ Hall, and re-created in park area sidewalks in Czech Village. High quality awnings are also a good way to promote wayfinding, provide depth to facades, and shade pedestrians from the elements. 29


PROMOTE GROWTH Promoting growth in the District is in many ways a function of branding. Branding is more than just a logo or visual identity. A strong brand can be the foundation for economic development and a catalyst for regional success. Branding has the potential to change perceptions, both internally and externally. It creates a consistent context for communications and marketing while combating negative stereotypes. A great brand expresses a shared vision for the future and gets everyone “on the same page.� In order for the District to be a successful brand, it must possess defining and distinctive characteristics that can be readily identified. These characteristics encompass functional and non-functional qualities including the area’s historic character, the appearance of streets and public areas, the variety of businesses and attractions, what the District stands for, and what kind of people are drawn to live, work and play in the District. A strong brand has the power to create a unifying message for a district with two distinct neighborhoods. By continuing efforts to promote a message based on the connections and synergies of Czech Village and New Bohemia, the Main Street District will benefit from stronger collaborations and increased opportunities to draw visitors. Create a brand story that celebrates the existing culture and assets Identify elements that emotionally or experientially connect the area Establish a consistent vocabulary (visual / language) Create opportunities for collaboration Develop market-specific plans for communications and promotions

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describe the district

GROWING HISTORIC VIBRANT ARTISTIC EXCITING ECLECTIC C U LT U R A L EMERGING


PROMOTE GROWTH The diverse nature and “draw” of the district is illustrated in the wide distribution of responses to the question, “What brings you to the district?” Restaurants and bars were selected by the largest segment of all survey respondents (64%), followed by shopping – food (47%), live music (38%), festivals (37%) and shopping – retail (31%). The findings helped to pinpoint what’s missing in the District. There’s a clear desire to see more retail, housing, dining and entertainment and outdoor recreation in the area. Survey responses also point to the continued need to build awareness through marketing, advertising and messages that promote the complete and abundant mix of businesses, attractions and experiences offered in the District. Marketing efforts might seek to expand on the sense of the District as a historic and culturally diverse hometown neighborhood business district, and nurture an even stronger sense of brand-loyalty by encouraging cross-marketing efforts which promote the District’s full range of products, services, attractions and experiences. Taking cues from the survey results and ongoing research, the Main Street Organization is developing new marketing strategies and messages. While tangible assets, businesses and various features were cited frequently, the largest concentration of survey respondents pointed to more intangible features and qualities related to the District’s character and environment, including its historic character and heritage, its feel, its uniqueness, its potential, its urban flair, and the sense that the District is an area on the rise. Additional direction for the design of District marketing and promotion strategies and messages is provided in descriptors offered by online survey respondents who were asked to list three words that describe the district. Messages and images capturing the most popular “buzz words” like growing, historic, vibrant, artistic, build on qualities, features and attributes that are already recognized, known, accepted and attached to the District.

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Landmark scale

Memorable spaces

Fun photo opportunities

Creative marketing

Guerrilla art


THE POWER OF WHIMSY The District is widely recognized for its sense of community, arts and entertainment attractions, and annual events. Embracing opportunities to create even more whimsical or fun experiences is directly in keeping with the area’s brand and a smart strategy for increasing the area’s visibility. Public Art Whether created by a professional artist, community members or a covert work of guerrilla artists, street art has the power to surprise, delight, and engage residents and visitors. As the District looks for ways to increase traffic, creative public art presents a significant

‘Think about someone’s face when they are surprised and delighted; it doesn’t come from potholes being fixed, it comes from a touch of whimsy.” — For the Love of Cities Peter Kageyama, Author & Community Builder

opportunity to engage visitors and create memorable moments. As part of the comprehensive revitalization strategy, encouraging public art could help reinforce the identity of the District as unique, artistic and eclectic. Bold, landmark-sized art installations could also temporarily fill spaces left vacant by the flood. Adding art on open lots on 3rd Street SE would reinforce neighborhood connectivity and help unify the District. Events The District is already recognized as a space for large-scale festivals and events drawing thousands of visitors to the area throughout the year. More than 40% of all Market Survey respondents attend NewBo Fest, 28% attend Houby Days, and 20% attend Czech Fall Festival. District festivals and special events, as demonstrated throughout the survey, are an important drawing card for the District and likely contribute to the District’s “fun factor.” 35


design strategies 37


ANCHORS & CATALYSTS Anchor and catalyst projects are major initiatives that stabilize an area or drive change and new investment. While they’re just one part of the puzzle that includes community, small businesses, the arts and recreation space, they fill in the big gaps and are critical to the vitality of an area. A thriving urban neighborhood feeds a continual cycle of investment with anchors to provide stability and catalysts to fuel new investment and public interest. Anchor Projects fit within the existing urban fabric while stabilizing and enhancing their immediate environs. These developments can re-use existing buildings or emerge to infill the urban fabric. These projects are large enough to draw additional users to the area and have moderate visibility within a city or region. Successful anchor projects can become destinations in their own right and attract development to the immediate area. Examples of potential anchor projects might include Urban Retail Centers; Restaurant / Entertainment Complexes - Group; Office Buildings / Business Park; Residential Housing / Complexes; and Arts Center / Education Center. District planned / completed anchor projects: National Czech-Slovak Museum; Water Tower Place / Bottle Works; CSPS; Sykora Bakery; Geonetric, Inc.; J.G. Cherry Building; Parlor City; The Ceramics Center Catalyst Projects are “game changing” in their ability to bring and attract not only users but other businesses, ventures, and development. These projects have the power to spur development in entire neighborhoods and can have city-wide and/or regional appeal. Unlike anchors, catalyst projects can be temporary installations or more permanent structures or developments. Examples of potential catalyst projects include Entertainment Complexes; Sports / Recreation Facilities; Mixed Use Development; Art Installations; Entertainment Complexes; District planned / completed catalyst projects: NewBo Fest; NewBo City Market; New Bohemia Station Boutique Hotel / Mixed Use; Improvements to the Parlor City Block; ITC Facade Grant Program; “Before I Die” Art Installation 39


01 Trees provide shade for a busy outdoor plaza

02 Public restrooms support neighborhood exploration and are useful during special events

03 Outdoor seating and attractive planters pull people outside adding to the vibrancy of the area

04 Unexpected elements of fun - like this sidewalk Monopoly game in Chicago magnetize people to an area

05 Well-proportioned sidewalks separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic

06 Large expanses of glass and high levels of transparency contribute to an engaging streetscape


HUMAN COMFORT People need spaces and places that foster a sense of physical and psychological well-being. Safe, welcoming environments are created through a careful balance of landscaping, building materials, and structural scale. The District’s streets and sidewalks should be well-lit and promote a positive pedestrian experience. The goal is to draw visitors from one end of the District to the other keeping them engaged with the urban landscape and exploring the art, businesses and attractions that make the District unique.

RECOMMENDATIONS Humanize the Pedestrian Experience / Continue Development of Third Street Improvements Improve safety with additional street scape improvements (maintain sidewalks, lighting and landscaping) Provide shade / shelter from weather with building canopies and trees (fig. 01) Provide centralized public restrooms (fig. 02) Install site furnishings including seating and planters (fig. 03) Increase sidewalk widths for comfort and safety Create experiences that enhance District appeal using art, fun and whimsy (fig. 04) Reduce Vehicular Speed Use on-street parking to provide a barrier between moving cars and pedestrians (fig. 05) Create bump-outs at intersections Material changes in paving Create Opportunities for Engagement Encourage generous public vestibules for new large-scale, multipl-occupant construction Create “outward” facing buildings and allocate generous portions of first floor façade to glazing (fig. 06) Promote sustainable building practices to create healthy environments

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01 Carving out spaces for people to connect adds vibrancy to an area - like this “pedestrian parking’ zone in San Francisco

02 People seek out urban areas because they provide visual stimulation - street cafés and food trucks encourage public activity

03 Getting people out of their cars and walking through the District is key to supporting a diverse economic ecosystem

04 The District already supports a robust bike culture - providing additional racks and lanes will enhance that core strength

05

06 The District needs additional residential and office space to fill in the gaps between com mercial buildings

Even simple, temporary signage can promote walkability - these signs in New Haven, CT use QR codes to provide visitors with information about area attractions


URBAN EXPERIENCE People seek out urban experiences because they feel vibrant and diverse, and they provide opportunities for positive social interaction. By developing a range of complementary uses and attractions, the District will strengthen its position as a regional destination for shopping, dining, arts, and cultural entertainment. Each new project in the District should serve as a magnet and fuel further investment.

RECOMMENDATIONS Create Double Duty Urban Spaces Integrate active outdoor spaces such as parklets, sculpture gardens and trails into the urban fabric (fig. 01) Organize active public uses in and about high-traffic areas Encourage street cafés and food cart vendors (fig. 02) Encourage a Pedestrian-Centric Experience Centralize parking and leave the car after arrival in the District — “Park Once “ (fig. 03) Establish well defined and well-designed public transit stops Install additional bike racks and bike lanes throughout the District (fig. 04) Create consistent lighting and nodes of activity to draw people down 3rd Street and Downtown Design wayfinding and signage that promotes proximal area attractions across the District (fig. 05) Seek Balance Balance retail, residential and office space to create a varied street scape that entices pedestrians (fig. 06) Encourage mixed use development and diversify residential opportunities to create a 24/7 population base

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RESIDENTIAL LIVING A thriving urban neighborhood includes the presence of residential areas. The people who call urban neighborhoods home maintain a 24-hour activity zone in dense urban areas. Residents create a demand for goods and services that support area businesses and commercial developments. This mixing and symbiotic relationship can be augmented through thoughtful development. The tradition of owner-occupied apartments above retail or commercial businesses has been rediscovered as a viable, desirable housing option in downtown commercial areas. In mixed use buildings, the design of upper levels should reflect the residential nature of their use. Windows should be residential in their size, type and proportions. Separate residential entrances are necessary and the architecture of the building facade should reflect the difference between ‘public’ and ‘private’ entrances. In addition, garages and parking spaces for residents and their guests need to be provided below grade or behind buildings. Garages and other service structures should be designed to fit with the building architecture. Even more important when housing units are provided in commercial and retail areas are private patios, or green spaces that serve as ‘community front yards’ for the residents. Combining such private residential amenities with public plazas, outdoor dining areas, and small urban pocket-parks will contribute to the 24-hour vitality of these new neighborhoods.

RECOMMENDATIONS Mix It Up Future residential developments should be mixed use with ground floor, pedestrian friendly, commercial use Encourage row house, townhouse, mixed use, and other higher density housing types Provide small, narrow single-family lots and larger lot possibilities for multi-family residential development

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RESIDENTIAL LIVING RECOMMENDATIONS Green Is Good Group large scale housing development units around public squares or courtyards Create a friendly street presence by including community gathering spaces (roof gardens, patios, etc.) Keep front yards to a minimum – 10’-15’ only for single family housing Right Size Homes Design compact residential building ‘footprints’ on smaller lots, or combine units into larger buildings Design for vertical massing rather than horizontal expansion Create both horizontal and vertical plane articulation with building offsets, overhangs, bays, and pilasters See People, Not Cars Locate garages, service structures, and additional parking underground, along alleys or in service courts Surface parking lots should be avoided Attention To Detail Tie a variety of facade styles together with continuous horizontal courses or repeated architectural elements Size windows / doors to the proportions of contextual structures and use first floor formal vertical windows Design and detail garage and service structures to match the contextual architecture Incorporate appropriate lighting for safety and a sense of connection Materials and Colors Use a variety of colors that reflect subtle color combinations in keeping with a building’s historic identity Use traditional, durable, and high-quality materials (brick, stone, and modern cladding systems) Include rich architectural detailing such as brick coursing, ornamental wood or metal trim, porch details and stone accents

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COMMERCIAL & MIXED USE The City of Cedar Rapids has an adopted Overlay District Ordinace (appendix) that applies to development in the area. The following recommendations supplement those guidelines and provide additional detail.

RECOMMENDATIONS Promote Circulation Throughout the District Use signage and landscaping to emphasize important street intersections, define neighborhoods or commercial districts, create axial relationships, and locate urban wayfinding landmarks Locate commercial and retail buildings on existing primary or collector streets with higher traffic volume Use Transparency To Increase Commercial Traffic Locate street-friendly retail shops or restaurants and cafes at ground level Build front facades to the right-of-way/property line to maintain the urban street edge Encourage ‘Park Once’ Concept and Walking Provide ample sidewalks (6’ minimum) Sidewalks should include public gathering spaces for outdoor seating, dining and events Provide limited, on-street parking for the economic viability of businesses Encourage consolidated use of existing public parking lots Design access from rear parking lots Use existing alleys or create new drives and courtyards for access to service areas and structures

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01 Vertical buildings are efficient and appropriate in volume for the District. - low wide buildings would be unsuitable.

02 The compact footprint of this modern addition respects the historic context of the area

03 First floor pedestrian arcades bring visual interest to the street level and provide a sense of activity that is appealing

04 Balconies and rooftop gardens bring the eye up from the street level and provide a vantage for appreciating the activity of the District

05 Live / work space with transparent offices on the first level connect residents with street traffic

06 Transparency is particularly valuable at night. Well-lit buildings add a sense of safety to an area and support 24-7 activity


COMMERCIAL & MIXED USE RECOMMENDATIONS Right Size Buildings Design vertical rather than one-story horizontal ‘big-box’ structures (fig. 01) Design three to four-story infill buildings with compact footprints (fig. 02) Design larger scale four+ story multi-tenant buildings only in areas with a similar scale Provide for Human Comfort Provide first floor pedestrian arcades or awnings (fig. 03) Create both horizontal and vertical plane articulation with building offsets, overhangs, bays, and pilasters Encourage balconies and other rooftop design elements (fig. 04) Create a Consistent Visual Vernacular Use transparent vision glass (no dark or reflective glass) (figs. 05 and 06) Consider the architectural detail of adjacent buildings (roof lines, horizontal coursing, building materials) Employ identifiable architectural elements to emphasize intersections, building entrances, public spaces Develop a hierarchy of facade and plan elements that use size, shape, and placement emphasize entrances Articulate roof edges using cornices, pediments, brickwork, and building ‘name’ and ‘date’ inserts Vertical organization: lower level, glass storefront systems; transom windows over doors; a signage band at 12’-14’; upper story window size and style changes; roof edge frieze bands and cornices Horizontal organization: decorative dividing pilasters; well-designed store entrances; a variety of facades

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02 Lighting can provide a dramatic and romantic transition from day to night while enhancing safety in the District

01 Small scale, integral signage is in keeping with the historic character of the District and provide visual interest on the street

03 Color can add character to a neighborhood and help visually define commercial districts

04 Incorporating iconography into ornamental metal work and details reinforces an area’s brand and adds to the historic quality of a neighborhood


COMMERCIAL & MIXED USE RECOMMENDATIONS Signage and Lighting Encourage small scale, integral signage (fig. 01) Incorporate appropriate lighting (fig. 02) Facade, storefront, and accent lighting will be needed for each new development project Light fixture styles and lamp types should be coordinated with the ornamental streetscape lighting Cut-off lenses to direct light away from adjacent properties should be used in all parking and service areas Materials and Colors Use a variety of color combinations in keeping with the area’s historic identity that emphasize individual retail or commercial functions (fig. 03) Use traditional, durable, and high-quality materials such as brick, stone, and architectural composite panels, and glass work, combined with energy efficient building materials and methods Create a variety of textures by combining materials – stone with brick, stone base courses with brick above, varying colors and textures of brick and stone, and metal trim and railings and other detail elements Include rich architectural detailing such as brick coursing, ornamental metal trim, stone accents and sun screen louvers (fig. 04)

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01 Iconic signage in Chicago’s ‘Old Town’ neighborhood serves as a gateway and has become a landmark in its own right

02 The iconography and lighting on the District’s Bridge of Lions establishes a natural gateway

03 Signage in Northfield, MN emphasizes the pedestrian experience with distances measured in blocks

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Czech Village has a large welcome sign at the C Street entrance to the neighborhood - the graphic style and colors are in keeping with the neighborhood’s identity

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Artist Bundith Phunsombatlert created 100 directional signs, each with a drawing of a public sculpture in New York City and the distance (mapped with GPS coordinates) between the source- sculpture and the sign


CONNECTIONS & GATEWAYS One of the critical elements in establishing a unified identity for the District is creating consistent and visually striking connections between the two neighborhoods. Entry into the New Bohemia and Czech Village areas should be welcoming and provide a sense of arrival. Highly visible intersections can advertise the area while expressing the District brand. Defining entry thresholds will stitch the urban fabric of Czech Village and New Bohemia together. Gateways Gateways are markers or monuments located at the entrance to a district or neighborhood to announce entry, or a transition from one area to the next. Gateways may be a literal gateway, markers on either side of a street, a singular large sculptural or iconic element, or even a unique plaza or landscape feature, such as the Bridge of Lions. They are generally more artistic or sculptural, and less literal or functional than other types of signage. They should: Be large enough to attract attention and identify the district entrance Incorporate unique artistic, sculptural, or culturally-expressive elements appropriate to the District Be placed on corner and mid-block curb extensions whenever possible Bridges The bridges between the districts link the areas together and provide visual access to the river and vistas between the two neighborhoods. The bridges provide a way to dynamically link the two areas through artfully designed lighting and way finding. The bridges are elegant architectural/urban infrastructure that should be celebrated and treated as extensions of the pedestrian experience, not solely regulated to the vehicular experience.

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01 Orientation signage in Bellevue, WA provides a visual overview of the area along with photos of important landmarks

02

Innovations in digital signage are making it easier and cheaper to install interactive wayfinding devices like this RIFD-enabled kiosk in Chicago

04 Sidewalk tiles served as advertising in the early 20th century in the New Bohemia area

05 In 2011, Florida artist Richard Moss recreated many of sidewalk tiles in New Bohemia restoring these unique pieces of art

03 Large kiosks in Boston, MA mix maps of the area attractions with historic facts and event calendars

06 Inlaid medallions marking early structures in the District are an elegant example of placemaking


CONNECTIONS & GATEWAYS Orientation Signs Orientation signs allow visitors to quickly view information about the District. They establish the area’s name, provide a map, list destinations like cultural institutions, historic buildings and significant sites. Visually, they are coordinated across an area and help establish the area’s brand. They should: Be located at key points throughout the District including Gateways Include directories/maps to guide people to various neighborhood resources Highlight public and private destination points, including shopping, cultural and recreational facilities, parking, restrooms, and other public-serving facilities When appropriate, use new technologies such as interactive and virtual displays with event or other real-time information while being respectful of the neighborhood context Interpretive Signs Interpretive signs give historical, cultural, natural or architectural information about an area. In areas like the District, which is rich in history, interpretive signs can identify a particular site where an important event occurred, or describe other aspects of a neighborhood’s past or present. The inlaid mosaic tiles and sidewalk medallions in New Bohemia that mark historic businesses and structures are creative examples of interpretive signs in the District. They should: Include graphics and photos, with a bold, strong heading and clear, succinct text Use a unique, neighborhood-specific design that incorporates creative or artistic elements Be coordinated with a centralized directory, map or orientation signs when appropriate

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STREETSCAPES Streetscape patterns are defined by the level of vehicular and pedestrian use, as well as the land use within which the streets lie. Primary, secondary and tertiary streets form an interlacing network of vehicular and/or pedestrian connections within an urban area. The success of these different levels of streets, as defined by their level of safety, appeal and match of qualitative to quantitative use, varies according to the level of observation, planning and foresight into their design and layout. The diagrams on page 65 identify primary, secondary and tertiary streets within the study area based on their type and level of use.

PRIMARY STREETS Primary pedestrian and vehicular routes warrant the greatest expenditure of resources and level of detail. The primary streets within the study area are 3rd Street SE and 16th Avenue SW. These streets are the major arteries connecting New Bohemia and Czech Village. Characteristics of well-designed primary streets include: Six-foot deep bumpouts at corners Turning radii to be determined during final design to accommodate maintenance, service and safety vehicles Special paving at bumpouts Special paving band along curbline (approximately 6 feet) Canopy trees with tree grates Street /pedestrian lights Planters, bike stands, benches and trash receptacles at street corners

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Primary Street

LEGEND Street Light Bike Stand Planter Bench Trash Receptacle Brick Paver Concrete Sidewalk Concrete Band Buildings

Canopy Trees Tree Grate Secondary Street

Tertiary Street


STREETSCAPES SECONDARY STREETS Secondary streets include 10th, 11th, 12th, and 14th Avenues and 2nd Street. These streets, due to narrower right of ways or less intensity of use, are more intimate, yet still include primarily commercial, office and entertainment uses. Characteristics of well-designed secondary streets include: Six-foot deep bumpouts at corners. Turning radii to be determined during final design to accommodate maintenance, service and safety vehicles Special paving at bumpouts Canopy trees in ground cover panels at corners and midblock Street/pedestrian lights with decorative icons and hanging flower baskets (double globe at corners, single globe between corners) Planters, bike stands and benches and trash receptacles at street corners

TERTIARY STREETS Tertiary streets are predominantly residential or commercial streets with a lower intensity of vehicular and/or pedestrian use, and account for the remainder of streets within the focus area. Characteristics of well-designed tertiary streets include: Six-foot deep bumpouts at corners Turning radii to be determined during final design to accommodate maintenance, service and safety vehicles Sidewalks and grassed areas at bumpouts Grass and tree terraces between the curb and sidewalk Canopy trees within tree lawns Street/pedestrian lights - single globe only 61


concepts 63


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DISTRICT PARKING Parking can be critical to the experience of visitors as it is often their first and last impression of an area. Signage directing motorists to designated parking areas and wayfinding for pedestrians is important to make visitors feel comfortable. Parking lots and pedestrian access to them must be well maintained. Pedestrian access points should be wide, well lit, and utilize landscaping to promote human comfort. If the path is unclear, unkempt, or appears unsafe in anyway, the parking lots will not be used. The “park once� concept promotes retail browsing and efficient use of available parking. Potential locations for new parking lot locations are numbered 1-6 for reference. New Bohemia: At most times, on street parking and existing surface lots provide adequate quantity and access to visitors in New Bohemia. During festivals and Market days however, demand is much higher and visitors are creating make shift parking lots on surrounding empty lots. Since the actual parking demand is so variable, any development of additional parking should be done thoughtfully and strategically. The existing city-owned Lot 44, west of 2nd Street SE along the river, needs to be taken full advantage of. Any new off street parking areas should be located just outside of the core, not affecting the built street density. With the current high traffic volume from NewBo City Market, a new eastern lot (1), located behind the Cherry building would be highly used. If parking demand grows significantly, a new surface lot (3) could be located at 14th Avenue and 2nd Street SE. This could accommodate users of the current and proposed trails, in addition to providing overflow parking for festivals, recreational events, and other peak times. Czech Village: Czech Village should maximize its street front presence. No off street parking areas should be located along 16th Avenue SW between the river and C Street. This area is better suited to building infill. The streetscape should only be interrupted by pedestrian access points or existing plaza areas. Parking should be consolidated behind buildings along 16th Avenue SW, as is largely already the case. Additional parking could be provided on the north side (4 and 5) to serve both shops and business, as well as the Museum. 65


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INFILL NEW BOHEMIA Nothing keeps experiential and economic vibrancy going more then keeping people interested. The public input process allowed people to express what they feel the District is missing or needs more of: Retail businesses, housing, cultural venues, employers, and recreation. If well planned, infilling the empty properties and redeveloping the building stock can address these desires. For schematic planning only, the infill diagram illustrates potential opportunities and appropriate scales for new development. The infill “buildings” are shown not to dictate the function, but to help guild the appropriate ground floor footprint and overall height that would suit the context of the immediate area. The varied scales of existing buildings and open lots in New Bohemia provides a unique opportunity for a diverse range of size and scope of new infill that can both compliment and enhance the established character and charm of the neighborhood. Larger scale infill should be located sensitively near existing larger buildings and at prominent intersections to maintain the gradual scale range of structures. Development should first be concentrated along the primary streets of 3rd Street and 14th Avenue SE, followed by secondary and tertiary streets. As the area continues to develop, catalyst and anchor projects can and will have an influence on how the district’s density is developed. This will help the area expand organically making it more likely to succeed. The proposed extension of 14th Avenue SE to a roundabout in front of St. Wenceslaus Church would provide additional opportunity for infill development.

Potential first floor retail spaces increase: 138,000 sf. *

Building footprints** range between 1,300 & 19,000 sft.

*Excluding development in progress

**Actual footprint to be determined by owner/ developer. Diagram to show potential infill only. 67


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INFILL CZECH VILLAGE The size and scale of buildings in Czech Village is less varied than in New Bohemia, consisting largely of 1-2 story, narrow lot storefront buildings. Any infill should be of a similar scale and be focused primarily along 16th Avenue SW, where there are fewer “missing teeth” or open lots to develop. The corner of 16th and A Street / Inspiration Place is particularly important, as it serves as a gateway as approached from the Bridge of Lions, and would improve connection with the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. For schematic planning only, the infill diagram illustrates potential opportunities and appropriate scales for new development. The infill “buildings” are shown not to dictate the function, but to help guild the appropriate ground floor footprint and overall height that would suit the context of the immediate area.

Potential first floor retail spaces increase: 23,000 sf

Building footprints* range between 1,500 & 5,000 sf.

**Actual footprint to be determined by owner/ developer. Diagram to show potential infill only.

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RECREATION / GREENSPACE Trails From the NewBo Bike Collective to Parlor City’s bicycle fix-it station, bicycles have been embraced by the District in a big way. The Cedar River Trail runs along the edge of the District, following the river. Much of the trail system Cedar Rapids enjoys today was built upon previous railroad right of ways. The decommissioned rail spur running behind the Cherry building continuing south along the former Sinclair plant could be removed and converted to a trail. To make this conversion meaningful, the bridge over the Cedar River should be reconstructed and re-purposed for non-motorized use. Sinclair Site With almost 30 available acres, the former Sinclair site located at the end of 3rd Street SE has mixed potential. Because of the proposed flood protection plan for the east side of the river, this site has some limitations to its development. Over half of the acreage will be dedicated to the protection plan and will be flooded during high water levels, so any development must take this into account. At the completion of this Revitalization Plan, no time line has been established regarding the construction of flood protection. Despite these uncertainties, the property should not be left abandoned. In the immediate future the land should be cleaned up and provided to the public for recreational uses and temporary events. A bike trail continuing from the decommissioned rail line running along the river’s edge would take advantage of the bicycles that already use the area. The open field of space has been mostly cleared of debris, and the topography is relatively a consistent level. This makes the land conducive for developing recreational fields such as; baseball, softball, soccer or a full disc golf course. The space is large enough for multiple fields, creating a potential for tournaments which in turn can bring in new visitors to the area. The area could be used as temporary event grounds, such as seasonal camping or festivals, supplementing the event spaces that are used today, possibly spawning new events. Safe and well maintained public toilet facilities should be provided. 71


RECREATION / GREENSPACE River Recreation The Cedar River is an important aspect to the area, but being in the river has not been part of the recreational options. Today the bike trail runs along the river’s edge, but tree density precludes most river views. On the Czech Village side, Sokol Park includes a pavilion for public use, but no river access. There are multiple levels of investment that could solve the access problem for this underutilized asset. One possibility is offering canoe and kayak launching areas in Sokol Park on the west side of the river bank to take advantage of the depth. This would attract a whole new user group to the area. For the more occasional users, having rentable equipment available, including paddle boats would bring a family activity to the District. (see concept rendering)

POSSIBILITIES FOR OPEN FIELD ACTIVITIES Public open space

Corn Maze

Disc Golf Basket

Camping

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CONNECTIONS AND GATEWAYS The District has the opportunity to strengthen the sense of entry for visitors entering from either side of the area. Currently, vacant lots disrupt the pedestrian connection from downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. This can be corrected by enhanced gateways with wayfinding, signage, and pedestrian amenities. Concentrating development along 3rd Street SE will help New Bohemia feel continuous and vibrant. To tie the two sides of the river together, 14th Avenue SE needs to continue the development to the Bridge of the Lions. The Bridge is a successful threshold into Czech Village. Concentrating strong infill projects at the 16th Avenue SW and A Street / Inspiration Place intersection will help create a stronger sense of arrival. Currently the strongest sense of entry to Czech Village is experienced at the intersection of 16th Avenue and C Street SW. Traveling east down 16th Avenue to the intersection, it is clear you are heading into a special location. The Czech Village welcome sign is located at the junction of 12th and 16th avenues but feels distant from where the sense of arrival actually takes place. Arriving to the Village from the north along C Street, the gateway, threshold and intersection currently occur at the same point. By separating these events along C Street to the north, it would decompress the entrance and make the Village seem larger than it does today. Creating a gateway point at 12th Avenue and C Street SW provides an opportunity to market to the more heavily traveled 12th Avenue. This puts more importance on the development of C Street between 12th and 17th avenues. Festivals and street events are part of the District’s culture. The 3rd Street SE to 14th Avenue travel path in New Bohemia should always maintain pedestrian access, but during those special events, vehicular traffic should be directed to 12th Avenue. In the Czech Village area, by enhancing the perimeter roads of 15th Avenue, A Street / Inspiration Place and 17th Avenue, traffic could be directed around 16th Avenue, allowing it to be closed to vehicular traffic for more than the annual festivals, but during the entire summer season or perhaps just weekends. This would convert the street to a pedestrian plaza, allowing opportunities for alfresco dining, evening shopping walks, street vendors, street performers, etc.

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Overall District Vision Map


IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY The first five years are the most important to maximize the current buzz about the area— keep people interested and thinking about New Bohemia and Czech Village. Temporary installations and temporary infill can keep people coming back to see what’s new in the area.. These efforts bridge the gap of time that larger development can take. 1 - 5 Years • Develop branding and marketing • Tactical Urbanism – temporary infill

TA C T I C A L U R B A N I S M

• Continue streetscape improvements

refers to temporary, cheap, and usually grassroots in-

• Public Parking areas • Continue pedestrian amenities and lighting • Continue trails, river access, Sinclair clean up • Small construction infill projects

terventions . . . designed to improve city life on a blockby-block, street-by-street basis. These efforts give concerned citizens and creative thinkers ways to reclaim built environments, encourage pedestrian traffic and street life, and promote economic investment without being bogged down in big politics and strangled budgets.

• Begin Catalyst Projects

“No city will build a bridge or a light-rail system with tacti-

• Augment existing Anchor Projects

cal urbanism alone,” (Mike) Lydon says. “But creative and smart interventions can build the social and political cap-

5 - 10 Years • Complete Catalyst Projects • Complete Anchor Projects • Begin Flood Control Projects 10 - 20 Years

ital needed to push such projects forward from the study and proposal stage. Tactical urbanism looks physical, but often the best results are social, in building more capacity and ties to longer-term change within neighborhoods.” “Newest Urbanism: Tactical urbanism has caught on in a big way. But is it big enough?” — Kim A. O’Connell, Architect magazine (July 2013)

• Continued Infill, Expansion, and District Maturation • Complete Flood Control Projects

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UE S

KEY INTERSECTION

14 TH

GATEWAY INTERSECTION PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS TRAIL

CE DA R

GREENSPACE

VEGETATION BUFFER DISTRICT BOUNDARY

Overall New Bohemia Vision Map

NU AV E 12 TH

PARKING

E

PROPOSED INFILL

CED AR

RIV

ER

RIV ER TRA IL


12 TH

AV E

NU

E

CE DA R

CED AR

RIV ER TRA IL

RIV

ER

CE DA R

RIV ER TR AIL

SW

KEY CONNECTOR STREET

16

TH

AV EN UE

SECONDARY ACCESS STREET FUTURE RECREATION AREA & GREENSPACE KEY INTERSECTION GATEWAY INTERSECTION PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENTS TRAIL

CS

TRE

ET S W

GREENSPACE PROPOSED INFILL PARKING VEGETATION BUFFER DISTRICT BOUNDARY

Overall Czech Village Vision Map

79


VISION NEW BOHEMIA

New Bohemia Third Street Conceptual Rendering


VISION CZECH VILLAGE

Czech Village Conceptual Rendering 81


opnarchitects.com

Revitalization Strategy  

Master plan for the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District

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