Cedar Rapids Council Approves Funds for a New Riverfront Amphitheater

By Rick Smith, Reporter

This drawing shows the proposed amphitheater for the west bank of the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Credit: Sasaki Associates Inc.) (Latest drawing, as of April 2010)

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By Kelli Sutterman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The Cedar Rapids City Council approved funds for a new amphitheater on Tuesday night.

The Cedar Rapids City Council agreed to set aside $1.014 million in city funds to match $3.75 million in expected state funds and $2 million in hoped-for private donations to build a levee and new outdoor riverfront amphitheater between the Third Avenue bridge and the police station on the west side of the Cedar River.

Gail Loskill, spokeswoman for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, noted on Tuesday that the plan for the 3,000-seat amphitheater also incorporates property now owned by the city and Linn County along the river between the police station and the Eighth Avenue bridge. The plan calls for that land, which may have a value of $750,000, to be donated to the project for use as extra event space and for parking, concessions and portable toilets, Loskill said.

She said the city now will apply for a $1.826-million state River Enhancement Community and Tourism (RECAT) grant to go along with a $1.75-million I-JOBS disaster grant for the project.

The I-JOBS money will pay for work, expected to start in the spring, to build a levee at the site of the amphitheater. The other funds will be used to build the amphitheater, which will be designed to flood, into the levee in 2012. The venue should be open in 2013, Loskill said.

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