City Leaders Say “All-America” Title Could Attract More Businesses

By Brady Smith

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - On Monday, a delegation of 39 people from Cedar Rapids returned from a trip to Denver, Colorado. They were there to present their case that Cedar Rapids has overcome challenges and grown as a result of community cooperation, to the National Civic League. Cedar Rapids was awarded the designation of “All-America City” along with 9 other cities, and the delegation celebrated that win upon their return to the Eastern Iowa Airport.

“My name is Ron Corbett, and I’m proud to be the mayor of an All-America City,” said the mayor Monday afternoon, moments after stepping off the plane from Denver.

Mayor Corbett and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz plan to wield that title with pride. Pomeranz called it a “good housekeeping seal of approval.”

“We’re getting emails from cities, from communities around the country saying, ‘wow, how did you all this in the city of Cedar Rapids?’” said Pomeranz.

The delegation that traveled to Denver presented a skit, detailing the city’s triumph over the 2008 flood, and its progress since then. Progress that could act as a magnet for attracting new business prospects.

“When you have a title of this nature, it gives you bragging rights that maybe many other communities have not achieved,” said Dee Baird, president and CEO of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

Baird said Cedar Rapids joins a list of cities across the nation that have demonstrated synergy and momentum. The next step is to let new business prospects know about that.

“The business prospects we’re working with that are looking at this particular region,” Baird explained, “we’re going to make sure they know the city has achieved this designation, and what they went through to achieve the designation.”

Dubuque won the title in 2013, 2012, and 2007, and posted signage reading “All-America City” in every city building. That marketing effort paid off, and drew in one major economic player, IBM, which opened a global delivery center there in 2009.

Pomeranz said the $18,000 in city funds and roughly $20,000 in private funds spent on the trip will be worth it.

“I think the money that was spent is a very, very small amount, considering the value we’re going to get over time,” Pomeranz explained.

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