CBJ: UI receives 'transformational' biomedical engineering grant


UI receives 'transformational' biomedical engineering grant

In what University of Iowa officials are calling a "transformational" grant, the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust has committed $12 million to fund research and discoveries in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Iowa College of Engineering.

UI officials said the grant will enable the department to build on its contributions to the field of pulmonary and respiratory biomedicine, finding solutions for the growing issues of lung disease and respiratory system disorders.

In honor of the grant and the Carver Charitable Trust's $15 million in total giving to the department - and pending approval from the Iowa Board of Regents - the department will be renamed the Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering.

"The Carver Charitable Trust has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to elevating research that addresses the most pressing human health issues," UI President J. Bruce Harreld said in a release. "The Carver Charitable Trust's unequaled support of the University of Iowa furthers our leadership role in biomedical discovery. We are incredibly thankful for our partnership."

Troy Ross, executive administrator of the Carver Charitable Trust, said he was "confident that this gift will serve to accelerate ongoing research and graduate training, as well as attract new faculty investigators, all of which should lead to enhanced scientific understanding and effective care for those living with conditions affecting the airway."

According to the American Lung Association, lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Respiratory system disorders, which also pose a significant threat to human health, include asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung cancer, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial lung disease and pneumonia.

The state's Board of Regents is expected to vote on the renaming of the department at its Nov. 15 meeting. The UI Department of Biomedical Engineering currently has 618 enrolled students in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Prospect Meadows launches new logo, donor wall

Thousands of youth baseball and softball players to visit Linn County to participate in tournaments beginning next summer. Construction of the new complex at the intersection of Highway 13 and County Home Road in Marion is proceeding as scheduled and Prospect Meadows anticipates hosting the first tournament in the late spring or early summer of 2019.

"We are excited to roll out a new logo and a new look to signify that phase one of the project is rounding third and headed home," said Jack Roeder, general manager of Prospect Meadows, in a release. "We have immense community support and partnerships to thank for making our vision a reality."

While funds have been raised to assure the opening of Prospect Meadows in 2019, fundraising continues in order to complete amenities that will make the complex a one-of-a-kind experience in the Midwest.

A donor wall, planned in partnership with Cedar Rapids Metro Area Rotary Clubs, will offer a unique opportunity for those interested in supporting Prospect Meadows. For $500, donors will receive an inscribed baseball placed on the large wall which is shaped in the state of Iowa and colored to match the American flag. This donor wall will be the first thing visitors see when entering the complex and serve as a signature photo opportunity.

$50 million Ahmann retail development gets CR city backing

A new master planned development called Edgewood Town Center (ETC) promises to bring a huge superstore and several smaller retail buildings to a 54.7-acre site near Edgewood Road and Blairs Ferry Road in Cedar Rapids.

A real estate unit of Ahmann Companies received Cedar Rapids City Council backing on Tuesday for incentives and rezoning to create the mixed-use project on undeveloped land recently acquired from Transamerica.

Part of the site is under contract for a 200,000-square-foot megastore, according to Chad Pelley, business development manager of Ahmann Companies. He declined to name the retail chain planning the store pending a formal announcement, but confirmed it will be a national retailer new to the area. Several more buildings are planned, he said, with strong interest shown by financial institutions, office users, retail operators and stand-alone restaurants.

ETC would be accessed from Buffalo Road, a currently vacated north-south road running from Blairs Ferry Road to the south end of the property, and then east to Edgewood Road near the intersection of Edgewood and Highway 100. It would also be served by two east-west entrances, one across from Hy-Vee and another across from a Mexican restaurant.

The project was recommended for tax increment financing (TIF) assistance under the city's Large Site Master Plan Economic Development Program. Council members approved a resolution authorizing city participation in the project by creating a TIF district and rebating 50 percent of the additional property taxes the development of the property will generate for a 10-year period. An estimated $13.1 million in property taxes will be generated by the project over the next decade, and about $5.6 million rebated, allowing the city to collect $7.5 million in taxes.

The Joe Ahmann-led Ahmann Companies has undertaken two other major mixed-use developments in the area. ETC will be about three times as large as The Fountains, a previous Ahmann development located to the east across Edgewood Road. Peck's Landing, a nearly 21-acre retail power center at at 3990 Blairs Ferry Road NE, is about 85 percent pre-leased as it nears opening.

About half of a separate 15-acre parcel acquired from Transamerica that is south of Highway 100 is under contract for a project that will go up for council consideration soon, Mr. Pelley said. He expects work to begin on the ETC project later this year.

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