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Westdale Mall Walkers Ponder Other Exercise Locations

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - On a quiet Sunday morning, only a day before its main common areas are closed to the public, the inside of Westdale Mall looks like something out of a zombie apocalypse film.

All you can hear are the shuffling of shoes, and the chirping of a few birds.

Edward Castelein of Cedar Rapids doesn't mind the silence.

"I like it," said Castelein. "I really look forward to coming over here and getting exercise in the cold weather, where it's too uncomfortable to go outside."

He spends at least a few hours a week doing laps here. But after this area is closed to the public, Castelein will need to find another place to get his exercise in. Lindale Mall is too far of a drive, so his only options are a nearby park, and his basement.

"I have a large basement, and I have a track around my basement," Castelein told us.

Other regular visitors like Daniel McWhinney of Marion were going for one final walk.

"Yeah, one last time unfortunately," McWhinney said, looking around the mall's empty corridors.

He and other walkers are left wondering how the more outdoors-oriented redevelopment that's planned for this space will play out in the future.

"It might be nice south of the Mason-Dixon line or in California, but I think being in Iowa, I wouldn't do it." McWhinney told us. "Being in Iowa, you don't have that many opportunities to be outdoors."

Castelein said his walking group will need to scout out a new place to go on Sundays.

"Some of the people I used to work with. So it's nice to see them," Castelein said. "Won't see them anymore."

JC Penney and Younkers will remain open throughout the redevelopment process. City Looks will still be accessible through a specially-built entrance.

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