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Cedar Rapids City Council Approves Pedestrian Bridge, Police Gun Range Projects

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — City council members approved more than $2 million in projects at Tuesday afternoon’s city council meeting.

The largest portion would build a pedestrian overpass bridge along Edgewood Road over Highway 30. The $1.7 million project would be paid for by the city and federal aid.

Public Works manager Rob Davis said the bridge will help those walking or riding their bikes cross the busy intersection.

“It’s good for connecting residents to their place of employment and we got a long term loop connection down towards the Prairie Campus, which is the Sixth Street and 76th Avenue area,” Davis said.

The project is expected to start late work late this summer and to be open by next spring.

The council also voted in favor of renovations to the Cedar Rapids Police Department’s gun range. The $630,000 plan would address noise and safety concerns of those living near the facility on Old River Road SW. It would be the first major upgrades to the site since 2000.

New features will include an added rifle range, raised berms and bullet traps to collect spent rounds.

The FBI and surrounding police departments will help pay for the upgrades.

“We got together with some of those agencies and said what can we do to improve it out there because money is tight, and they were all able to found some funding for us and we’ll continue to still find some funding to continue to develop that range and make improvements to it,” Capt. Bernie Walther said.

The violent start to 2014 has been a topic of concern for law enforcement and citizens for several months. Already, Cedar Rapids has had 7 murders in 2014, more than any year dating back since at least 1999, according to FBI statistics.

The Reverend Doyle Landry, a local activist, addressed the city council Tuesday about how to stop the violence.

“How you deal with it directly is getting to the root cause. People who are stable don’t wake up and decide I’m going to kill somebody,” Landry said.

At the end of April, Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman urged witnesses to come forward.

Jerman said most of the gun violence is between two rival groups, but has stopped short of calling it gang-related.

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