Cedar Rapids Moving Ahead on Outdoor 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 Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - City Hall is moving ahead on plans to build a $6.6-million outdoor riverfront amphitheater that can seat 3,000 people while functioning as a flood-control levee.

The City Council will be asked this week to set aside a total of $1.014 million in local funds split between the next two budgets to match an expected $3.75 million in state funds and $2 million in private donations to the project. The state money consists of a $1.75-million I-JOBS disaster grant and a hoped-for $1.826 million River Enhancement Community and Tourism (RECAT) grant.

In a memorandum to the council, city staff members state that the riverfront amphitheater will be built on the west-side of the Cedar River between the Third Avenue bridge and the police station.

The memorandum says that the open-air amphitheater has the potential of attracting as many as 52 events of varying sizes a year.

The city is prepared to move ahead with Phase 1 of the project, which is the levee component of the design, even if the council does not now choose to designate city funds that will allow the city to apply for a state RECAT grant.

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