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Group Finalizes Plan for Future of Newbo & Czech Village

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Months ago, the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District in Cedar Rapids started asking the community for ideas.

It wanted to know what people wanted to add to those neighborhoods. Organizers collected those ideas, and now they have a plan for how they want to proceed.

The Strategic Revitalization Plan is more than 80 pages long.

The district includes both Newbo and the Czech Village.

"This is the first time we've developed a plan for the district," said Executive Director of the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District Jennifer Pruden.

There's no doubt a lot has changed in Newbo and the Czech village in since the flood. Organizations have renovated buildings and new businesses are moving in.

Meegan Hofmeister just opened her women's fashion boutique this past weekend.

"We love the energy and the momentum of the neighborhood. There's a lot of big plans for the development of this area and we wanted to be one of the first ones to be a part of it," Hofmeister said.

Now there's a roadmap for the Main Street district's future.

"There's still more work to be done," Pruden said.

Pruden is the executive director of the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District. She said the revitalization plan includes pedestrian amenities, building potential in empty lots, better traffic circulation and plans for the river.

"How amazing would that be if we could actually use this river that we have as an asset to Cedar Rapids?" Pruden said.

The planning process also included a marketing study showing that people come from all over the corridor to visit.

"We also found the number one thing that people were looking for was more retail. So we'll definitely focus our business recruitment efforts on a few more retail options," Pruden said.

Main Street said it hopes this will entice more businesses to locate in NewBo and Czech Village. For those who have been there a while, like people at Top Drawer, they're anxious for the future.

"I hope I live long enough to see it. I'm excited about what's going to happen down here," said Betty Clinton.

The plan lays out an implementation process for the next 20 years. It even includes plans for flood protection.

Main Street leaders said the next step is to figure out how to fund all of the projects and developments laid out in the Revitalization Plan.

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