Party supports Cedar Rapids bar impacted by construction

One local bar and grill says the reconstruction project on 6th Street SW between Wilson and 33rd in Cedar rapids has taken a toll on business.
Published: Sep. 18, 2022 at 11:19 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Dozens of regulars of the Cedar Rapids bar Checkers came out Sunday afternoon to support the business, which the owners believe has suffered because of road construction nearby.

Since April 2021, the Sixth Street SW project has been underway. According to the City of Cedar Rapids, the construction project includes “a new asphalt surface, utilities, new traffic signals at 33rd Avenue and Wilson Avenue, a pedestrian signal at 29th Avenue, and sidewalk on both sides of 6th Street SW.”

Checkers is on the stretch of Sixth Street that’s been under construction.

“It’s been really, really tough on us.” PJ Harrington, the bar’s owner, said. “Our traffic’s down over 50%.”

Harrington adds that the construction followed 2020, which featured both the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating derecho.

“So we’ve had three really crappy years,” Harrington said.

Curt Burgess is a regular at the bar.

“I heard a conversation that I wasn’t supposed to hear. I heard Pam and PJ talk and they didn’t know that they were going to make it through winter,” Burgess said.

That’s when Burgess was inspired to give the bar a boost in the form of Sunday’s party.

“I’m like, we got to give him maybe one amazing day help kind of get them back on track,” Burgess said.

Around 50 people enjoyed drinks and live music throughout Sunday. Kari Pickart was one of them.

“We’re longtime friends of Pam and PJ, love the bar. We got to be here to support them,” Pickart said.

Support from Pickart and others like her wasn’t lost on Harrington.

“It’s overwhelming,” Harrington said. “I can’t thank them enough.”