Public, City Leaders Team-up to Revitalize New Bohemia/Czech Village

By Nadia Crow, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - After drowning under flood waters in 2008, the NewBo and Czech Village areas are now fighting back with revitalization. Saturday, area leaders asked everyone to share their ideas about re-developing the neighborhoods.

Just take a ride through the Czech Village and New Bohemia District. You'll travel back in time with the historical buildings still in place. And you'll see more recent developments, too.

"It's just a great place to live and be," said business owner William Harnish.

To continue moving forward, the Czech Village New Bohemia Main Street organized a public workshop so everyone could share ideas about progress. People looked at maps of the area to compare the old neighborhoods to what they'd like to see in the future.

"People want to see a lot of density in shopping down here so they can walk through the district and have something to look at and something to do around the way," said Czech Village New Bohemia Main Street District Executive Director Jennifer Pruden.

"What I want to do is put a chapel in there; a wedding chapel," said Harnish.

William Harnish says his family's been in the area for more than 100 years. He rents out his family home and knows things in the area are improving.

"A few years ago, I rented the house out and people said I don't think I want to live in that area. But now everybody wants to live in that area. People are calling me asking can we rent out your apartment," said Harnish.

More housing units and commercial spaces continue popping up throughout the Czech Village and NewBo area. You see and hear the sounds of progress in the neighborhoods. And leaders hope this bustling Saturday morning sparks a trend year round for years to come. Leaders say it's a continued conversation to renovate the area.

You can also go to another public meeting on January 12th at the CSPS Black Box Theater. Click here for more information.
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