Cedar Rapids Plans to Spend $400,000 on New Welcome Signs, Landscaping

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — For the past two years, Cedar Rapids has setting aside your property tax dollars for the "City Gateways Enhancement Project." As much as $400,000 will pay for new city welcome signs, and fresh landscaping. Wednesday, we got our first chance to see what it could look like. 500 city residents answered questions in an online survey about what they want that signage and landscaping to look like. Now, through a partnership with Kirkwood Community College, those preferences could soon become a reality.

The city's been saving up cash to make sure that impression is good one. $400,000 property tax dollars from the city's general fund to buy a new Cedar Rapids welcome sign and landscaping to welcome out-of- towners like Keokuk's Justin Myers. "It would definitely make me feel a little more welcome," said Myers.

Kirkwood Community College students put those ideas to paper. "We wanted to show the industrial side and some of the hometown feels of Cedar Rapids," said Myers.

Students pitched their ideas to a handful of city leaders on a special beautification task force. "We're looking at a couple of major gateway signs as well as looking at how whatever design is chosen then we can take that and do it on a smaller scale to maybe have throughout the city," said Cedar Rapids Community Development Planner Jennifer Pratt..

The special task force will pick one of the student designs and the city council will vote on it. The goal is to start construction and have a sign up by late summer-early fall. Maintenance costs will depend on which design is chosen and how much of the general fund dollars will support the gateway project in the future.
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