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CR College District could be next NewBo Success

Neighbors and business owners in the College District of Cedar Rapids offer their hopes and dreams for development and changes in the area

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa ( CBS2/FOX28) - More than 100 people turned out at the Shores Event Center to express their hopes and dreams for the College District. Some would like to see the area between Mount Mercy University and Coe College become the next NewBo Neighborhood success story. That area has seen a dramatic increase in retail shops, restaurants and housing since the 2008 floods. Some business owners and neighbors see the College District as an area with tremendous potential and maybe even more promise than NewBo. Those who attended the feedback session Tuesday night answered questions and offered their thoughts on what works well and what could be inproved in the neighborhood.

Tom Erger bought the historic Shores and Mueller Building more than a decade ago hoping it might be a catalyst for change. The 1911 building is now a showplace for Erger’s Cabinet Studio and the Shores Event Center. He says the area actually has an advantage over NewBo because of the many housing opportunities, “ We have a great residential neighborhood totally surrounding this area with houses that are relatively inexpensive, that do need some fixing up, but there’s a great potential for a young professional couple to come in and buy a house and rehab it for a really reasonable price. It’s one of the old neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids that really retains that original feel, but could be integrated into the new fabric of our city.”

Phillip Platz with Mount Mercy University agrees the opportunities in the College District are limitless. He says Mount Mercy has a new athletic complex which will bring many more students and parents to the area below the main campus. Platz says you can just imagine a very walkable area where people would love to spend time, “ What if there were shops and restaurants and things for people to do once they get out of those sporting events? I think that it’s a neighborhood that is going to have its own vibe. It’s going to be like a NewBo or complimentary to NewBo, but have its own activity based focus that has a life of its own.” City planners will now take all of the surveys and feedback they received and compile the information. It will then be presented for College District neighbors and interested parties to review again and vote for the best ideas at an open house sometime in October.

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