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Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Cedar Rapids
(play /ˈsdər ˈrćpɨdz/) is the second largest city in Iowa and is the county seat of Linn County. The city lies on both banks of the Cedar River, 20 miles (32 km) north of Iowa City and 100 miles (160 km) east of Des Moines, the state's capital and largest city. Until massive flooding in 2008, the city's government was headquartered in the Veterans Memorial Building, near the Linn County Courthouse and jail on Mays Island in the Cedar River; Cedar Rapids was one of few cities in the world with governmental offices on a municipal island.

A flourishing center for arts and culture in Eastern Iowa, the city is home to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance. Cedar Rapids is an economic hub of the state, located in the core of the Interstate 380 Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Technology Corridor of Linn, Benton, Jones, Johnson, and Washington counties. The estimated population of the three-county Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the nearby cities of Marion and Hiawatha, was 255,452 in 2008. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city population was to 126,326. Cedar Rapids has been residence to famous figures for the United States, including American Gothic painter Grant Wood, journalist and historian William L. Shirer, writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten, and aerodynamics pioneer Dr. Alexander Lippisch. In the 1990s and 2000s, Hollywood would feature several Cedar Rapidians including actors Bobby Driscoll, Ashton Kutcher, Elijah Wood and Ron Livingston. The area has also produced a number of professional athletes such as Ryan Sweeney, Trent Green, Zach Johnson, and Kurt Warner. The city is also the setting for a musical, The Pajama Game and the comedy film Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids is nicknamed the "City of Five Seasons", for the "fifth season", which is time to enjoy the other four. The symbol of the five seasons is the Tree of Five Seasons sculpture in downtown along the north river bank. The name "Five Seasons" and representations of the sculpture appear throughout the city in many forms.

The location of present-day Cedar Rapids was in the territory of the Fox and Sac tribes.

The first permanent settler, Osgood Shepherd, arrived in 1838. When Cedar Rapids was first established in 1838, William Stone named the town Columbus. In 1841 it was resurveyed and renamed by N.B. Brown and his associates. They named the town Cedar Rapids for the rapids in the Cedar River at the site, and the river itself was named for the large number of red cedar trees that grew along its banks. Cedar Rapids was incorporated on January 15, 1849. Cedar Rapids annexed the community of Kingston in 1870.

The economic growth of Cedar Rapids increased in 1871 upon the founding of the Sinclair meatpacking company.

In 1960, the Census Bureau reported Cedar Rapids' population as 98.6% white and 1.2% black.

Flood of 2008

During the Iowa flood of 2008, the Cedar River reached a record high of 31.12 feet (9.49 m) on June 13, 2008, the previous record was 20 feet (6.1 m) surpassing the 500-year flood plain. 1,126 city blocks were flooded, or more than 10 square miles (26 km2), 561 city blocks were severely damaged, on both banks of the Cedar River. This is 14% of the city's total area. There were a total of 7,749 flooded properties that had to be evacuated, 5,900 were homes, and 310 were city facilities including the City Hall, Central Fire Station, Main Public Library, Ground Transportation Center, Public Works building, and Animal Control building. It is estimated 1300 or more properties are to be demolished in the Cedar Rapids area because of the flood.

Geography

The city is divided into four quadrants, used in addressing. 1st Avenue (U.S. Route 151 Business) divides the north and south sides of the city, and the Cedar River divides east and west. Mays Island, in the middle of the river, is the only area of the city where addresses have no quadrant. Areas outside of the city limit that use the "Cedar Rapids" city name on their mailing address also do not use the quadrants.

Except in the downtown area, 1st Avenue and the Cedar River tend to run diagonally instead of along the cardinal directions. Due to the curving of 1st Avenue, there are some areas in western Cedar Rapids where NW addresses are actually south of SW addresses.

Cedar Rapids is divided into fourteen ZIP Codes. Mays Island and the downtown area are covered by 52401. The northeast quadrant is covered by 52402 and 52411. The southeast quadrant is covered by 52403. The southwest quadrant is covered by 52404. The northwest quadrant is covered by 52405. Post office boxes are covered by ZIP codes 52406, 52407, 52408, 52409, and 52410. Several other ZIP codes are for specific business (Aegon USA, Rockwell Collins, etc.).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 72.07 square miles (186.66 km2), of which, 70.8 square miles (183.37 km2) of it is land and 1.27 square miles (3.29 km2) is water.

Neighborhoods

Czech Village is located along 16th Avenue SW, which is south of the Cedar River. It is home to such Czech-related businesses as The Czech Cottage, Sykora Bakery, Al's Blue Toad, and Deda and Babi's Antiques. The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is one of the major tourist attractions in Cedar Rapids, and the nearby Bohemian National Cemetery may also be of interest to visitors. The National Czech & Slovak Museum's main building was located directly on the river and was badly damaged by the 2008 floods. As of late 2010, the Board of Directors of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library is pursuing a plan to move and then elevate its flood-damaged museum building. There is a temporary location open in Czech Village that people may visit as the main site is in the process of recovery.

The Cedar Rapids Czech Heritage Foundation is one of many local organizations working to promote and preserve Czech heritage in Cedar Rapids. They support and sponsor many programs and events throughout the year. One of these programs is the Miss Czech-Slovak Iowa pageant. Two Miss Czech-Slovak US queens can claim this community as home: Lisa Volesky and Stasia Krivanek.

Olga Drahozal is the famed band leader of the Czech Plus Polka Band, a performing group that frequents the Kosek Band Stand. She, along with Bessie Duggena and Leona Poduška, taught Czech School (Česká škola) at Wilson Middle School.

In 2003, the African-American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa opened its doors. Cedar Rapids is also home to the historic 26 acre (105,000 m˛) Brucemore Estate, on which sits a 21-room mansion, and the Masonic Library and Museum.

There are twelve active neighborhood associations in Cedar Rapids. The neighborhoods nearest downtown include Wellington Heights and Oakhill Jackson in the southeast quadrant and Moundview in the northeast quadrant. Also farther north in the northeast quadrant is the Kenwood Park which was independent until it was incorporated into the Cedar Rapids city limits and Noelridge Park neighborhood. The boundaries of Kenwood are 32nd Street to Oakland Road to Old Marion Road to C Avenue to 40th Street then 1st Avenue between 40th street and 32nd Street.

In addition to the neighborhood associations in Cedar Rapids, there are many informal, unofficial neighborhoods, such as Bowman Woods, Vernon Heights, Stoney Point, New Bohemia (NewBo) and Wilderness Estates.

In 2009, Cedar Rapids was rated one of the "Top 10 cities to Grow Up In" in the United States, partly due to a low crime rate and a good public school system.

Demographics

Historical Populations
Year Pop. ±%
1860 1,830
1870 5,940 +224.6%
1880 10,104 +70.1%
1890 18,020 +78.3%
1900 25,656 +42.4%
1910 32,811 +27.9%
1920 45,566 +38.9%
1930 56,097 +23.1%
1940 62,120 +10.7%
1950 72,296 +16.4%
1960 92,035 +27.3%
1970 110,642 +20.2%
1980 110,243 −0.4%
1990 108,772 −1.3%
2000 120,758 +11.0%
2010 126,326 +4.6%
"American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. and Iowa Data Center

As of the census of 2010, there were 126,326 people, 53,236 households, and 30,931 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,784.3 people per square mile (688.9/km˛). There were 57,217 housing units at an average density of 808.2 per square mile (312.0/km˛). The racial makeup of the city was 87.98% White, 5.58% African American, 0.31% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 2.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.31% of the population.

There were 53,236 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.3 years. For every 100 females there were 96.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.

Based on the 2010 American Community Survey 1 Year Estimates, the median income for a household in the city was $51,186, and the median income for a family was $63,265. Males had a median income of $40,413 versus $26,402 for females. The per capita income for the city is $26,370. About 6.3% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under the age of 18 and 4.3% of those 65 or older.

In the 2000 census, Cedar Rapids was 91.9% non-Hispanic white, with well over half of the population claiming a specific ethnic European ancestry, such as Germans (35.5%), Irish (17.1%), English (9.4%), Czechs (7.8%), Norwegians (5.1%), and French from either France or Canada (3.2%). The city also has a growing minority population: for example, in the three-year period from 2006 to 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 4.9% of the Cedar Rapids population identified as African Americans, up from 3.7% in the 2000 census. There are also Asian (such as Cambodians, many of whom arrived in the 1980s), Arab-American and Hispanic communities after an influx of immigrant workers arrived in the 1990s.

The Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Statistical Area consists of Linn, Benton, and Jones counties. The MSA had a 2000 census population of 237,230, with an estimated 2008 population of 255,452; Linn County was the only county in the MSA before the MSA was redefined after the 2000 census.

As a growing job center, Cedar Rapids pulls commuters from nearby Marion and Hiawatha. Other towns that have become bedroom communities include Ely, Swisher, Shueyville, Palo, Atkins, Fairfax, Walford, Robins and Bertram.

Muslim heritage

Cedar Rapids has played an important role in Muslim culture in the United States. The National Muslim Cemetery on 12 acres (49,000 m2) of land donated by Haj. Yahya William Aossey in 1948 is said to be the first exclusively Muslim cemetery in North America. Graves in the cemetery face Mecca.  The Mother Mosque of America, dedicated on June 16, 1934, is the longest standing mosque in North America and the second oldest after the 1929 mosque built in Ross, North Dakota. In 1972, another mosque was built and the original mosque was sold and fell into disrepair before being purchased in 1990 by the Islamic Council of Iowa and renovated.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Iowa flood of 2008 extensively damaged the basement, destroying many historic documents.

Muslim presence in the area dates to 1895 when the first immigrants arrived from the Beqaa Valley in today's Lebanon and Syria.  Islamic Services of America (I.S.A.) was established in Cedar Rapids in 1975 and provides Halal Certification and supervision throughout the world.

Economy

Cedar Rapids is one of the largest cities in the world for corn processing. The grain processing industry is Cedar Rapids' most important sector, directly providing 4,000 jobs that pay on average $85,000, and also providing 8,000 indirectly.  Fortune 500 company Rockwell Collins is based in Cedar Rapids,  and Aegon has its United States headquarters there. A large Quaker Oats mill, one of the four that merged in 1901 to form Quaker Oats, dominates the north side of downtown. Other large companies that have facilities in Cedar Rapids include Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, General Mills, and Nordstrom. Newspaperarchive, based in Cedar Rapids, is the largest newspaper archive in North America with a repository of more than 150 million pages assembled over 250 years; it was taken offline for two days by the 2008 flood.

Top employers

According to Cedar Rapids' 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,  the top employers in the area are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Rockwell Collins 8,700
2 Aegon 3,872
3 St. Luke's Hospital 3,184
4 Cedar Rapids Community School District 2,936
5 Hy-Vee 2,599
6 Mercy Medical Center 2,312
7 Whirlpool 2,225
8 Kirkwood Community College 1,895
9 City of Cedar Rapids 1,311
10 Quaker Oats Company 1,018

Arts and culture

Cedar Rapids is home to the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra, the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, and Brucemore, a National Trust Historic Site, among others.

Cedar Rapids is also home to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Legion Art's CSPS Hall, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, the African American Historical Museum, Kirkwood Community College's Iowa Hall Gallery, and the legendary Grant Wood Studio at 5 Turner Alley. These Cedar Rapids venues have recently hosted world class and award nominated exhibitions, including the works of Andy Warhol, Grant Wood, and the Iowa Biennial, among others.

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art houses the largest collection of Grant Wood paintings in the world. The 1920s Paramount Theatre is home to the Orchestra Iowa and the Cedar Rapids Area Theatre Organ Society. Concerts and events such as high school graduations, sporting events, exhibitions, and political rallies are held in the U.S. Cellular Center, formerly known as The Five Seasons Center.

Many arts centers in Cedar Rapids sustained severe damage during the June 2008 flood. Among those severely damaged are the Paramount Theatre, Theatre Cedar Rapids, the National Czech & Slovak Museum, and the African American Historical Museum. Two Wurlitzer organs were damaged, located at the Paramount Theatre and Theatre Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art suffered minor damage. It is expected to cost $25 million to repair the Paramount;  Theatre Cedar Rapids reopened in February 2010.

Sports

Cedar Rapids is home of the minor-league baseball team Cedar Rapids Kernels, a member of the Midwest League since 1962. The Kernels are a Class-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The ice hockey team Cedar Rapids RoughRiders are a member of the USHL and were once Clark Cup Champions. Cedar Rapids Titans are a professional football team that plays in the Indoor Football League. There is also a junior hockey league, the Cedar Rapids Hockey Association, with mini-mite-high school teams. Sports facilities include Veterans Memorial Stadium for baseball, Kingston Stadium for football and track, the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena for hockey, Hawkeye Downs Speedway, a half-mile paved racetrack featuring weekly racing and national and regional touring series as well as a motocross arena, and the U.S. Cellular Center (formerly the Five Seasons Center) for basketball. This arena also hosts the Iowa High School volleyball championships, home of the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls (roller derby) and many concerts Cedar Rapids is also home to the high competitive "metro" athletic teams, representing Jefferson, Washington, Kennedy, Linn-Mar, Xavier, and Prairie high schools. Cedar Rapids is also the birthplace of NASCAR Nationwide's 2008 RAYBESTO's Rookie Of The Year Landon Cassill.

Parks and recreation

Cedar Rapids has over 3,360 acres (13.6 km2) of city owned property for undeveloped green space and recreational use. There are 74 formally named parks or recreational facilities. These include baseball and softball fields, all-weather basketball courts, two frisbee golf courses, sand volleyball courts, the Tuma Soccer Complex, a BMX dirt track, an off-leash dog exercise area, the Old MacDonald's Farm a children's zoo, 10 splash pads, and many parks that have pavilions, picnicking areas and restroom facilities. The various trail systems in Cedar Rapids have a total of 24 miles (39 km) for walking, running or bicycling.

Government

Cedar Rapids mayors since 1969
Mayor In office
Don Canney 1969–1992
Larry Serbousek 1992–1995
Lee Clancey 1995–2002
Paul Pate 2002–2006
Kay Halloran 2006–2009
Ron Corbett 2010–

From April 6, 1908, to December 31, 2005, Cedar Rapids used the city commission form of government. It was one of the few larger American cities remaining to operate under this model. Under this form of government, the council was made up of a public safety commissioner, a streets commissioner, a finance commissioner, a parks commissioner, and a mayor. The council members worked on a full-time basis, served two year terms, and were considered department heads. Don Canney, the longest serving mayor in city history, served for twenty-two years under this system.The last mayor of Cedar Rapids under this form of government was Paul Pate.

In 2005 the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce spearheaded a movement to change from the commission form of government. A panel was appointed by Mayor Pate and the City Council to study the issue, and recommended that voters be presented with three options:

  • Stay with the current commission form of government.
  • Adopt a "strong mayor form" where the council would be part-time, the mayor would be full-time, and a city manager would run the day to day affairs of the city.
  • Adopt a "weak mayor form" of government, in this form the mayor and council would both work on a part-time basis. A full-time city manager would run the day-to-day operations of the city.

On June 14, 2005, voters went to the polls to decide whether to adopt a new form of government or continue with the commission form. 28,818 of the 83,514 registered voters (29.72%) cast ballots on the issue. 68.80% of the voters decided to adopt a new form of government. Elections were held on November 8, 2005 and 30 candidates ran. Kay Halloran, a retired attorney and state legislator, became the first mayor elected under the new system. Several members of the city council were elected outright; however, the remaining races were close enough to require a runoff election, which took place in December.

Cedar Rapids now has an Iowa "Home Rule" charter which establishes a weak mayor system with a part-time City Council and Mayor both on four year terms. The eight-member Council is divided into five districts. One council member is elected from each district and the remaining three members are elected on an at-large basis. The mayor's salary is $30,000 and each member's is $15,000.

The Council and Mayor hired Jim Prosser as City Manager in the summer of 2006. Prior to hiring Prosser, James Flitz, formerly the City Attorney, served as interim City Manager. Department directors report to the City Manager, who has authority over employment, except in the case of the Police and Fire Chiefs, which require Council approval. The first meeting of the Council was held on January 3, 2006.

  • Under Iowa law, municipal elections are non-partisan.

Education

Cedar Rapids is home to two four-year colleges: Coe College and Mount Mercy College (now Mount Mercy University). The University of Iowa also has an evening MBA facility there. Kirkwood Community College is the area's only two-year college, while Kaplan University (formerly Hamilton College) and Upper Iowa University also have campuses there. Cornell College in Mount Vernon and the University of Iowa's main campus in Iowa City are both within 30 miles (48 km) of Cedar Rapids.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District is the largest school district in the metropolitan area with an enrollment of 17,263 in the 2006-2007 school year. The district contains 24 elementary schools, six middle schools, and four high schools: Jefferson, Washington, Kennedy, and Metro High School(an alternative high school).  Two neighboring school districts draw students from within the Cedar Rapids city limits. The Linn-Mar Community School District serves part of the northeast quadrant of the city and has seven elementary schools inside the city limits.  The College Community School District serves part of the southwest quadrant of Cedar Rapids as well as neighboring rural portions of Linn, Benton and Johnson counties. Located in a central campus off Interstate 380 are College Community's four elementary schools, Prairie Creek Intermediate, Prairie Point Middle School & Ninth Grade Academy, and Prairie High School.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Catholic Education System, which is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque, consists of six elementary schools,[43] two middle schools, and one high school (Xavier). The Cedar Rapids Catholic Education System and Cedar Rapids Community School District are synonymous with each other in the Cedar Rapids Public and Parochial School System.

The city hosts several private schools, including Cedar Valley Christian School, Trinity Lutheran School, and Isaac Newton Christian Academy.

Media

Radio

Cedar Rapids' radio market, which consists of Linn County, is ranked 211th by Arbitron with 172,000 listeners aged 12 and older.

Clear Channel Communications owns four stations in the Cedar Rapids area, including WMT 600 AM, a news/talk station that has broadcast since 1922. Clear Channel also owns KKSY-FM 96.5, a modern country music station; KMJM 1360 AM, a classic country station; and KWMG 95.7 FM, a simulcast of WMT. Cumulus Media owns four stations in Cedar Rapids: KDAT 104.5 FM (adult contemporary), KHAK 98.1 FM (country music), KRNA 94.1 FM (active rock), and KRQN 107.1 (contemporary hits).[48] Three other stations in Cedar Rapids are independently owned: KZIA 102.9 FM (contemporary hits), KGYM 1600 AM (sports radio), and KMRY 1450 AM (adult standards). Several stations from Waterloo and Iowa City also figure into ratings in Cedar Rapids. These stations include KFMW 107.9 FM, otherwise known as Rock 108 with an active rock format and KOKZ 105.7 FM which has a classic hits format. Both stations are located in Waterloo. Clear Channel owned KKRQ 100.7 FM and its classic rock format is the Iowa City station that is typically highly rated in Cedar Rapids.

The only non-commercial station licensed to Cedar Rapids is KCCK-FM 88.3 FM, a jazz station licensed to Kirkwood Community College. KXGM-FM 89.1 is a non-commercial contemporary Christian music station licensed to neighboring Hiawatha.[49] NPR stations from Cedar Falls (KUNI (FM) 90.9 FM) and Iowa City (KSUI 91.7 FM and WSUI 910 AM) reach Cedar Rapids.

Television

The Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque media market consists of 21 eastern Iowa counties: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cedar, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Fayette, Grundy, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Tama, Washington, and Winneshiek. It is ranked 88th by Nielsen Media Research for the 2008-2009 television season with 346,330 television households.

Cedar Rapids is home to four network-affiliated stations: KGAN channel 2 (CBS), KCRG channel 9 (ABC), KFXA channel 28 (Fox), and KPXR channel 48 (ION). NBC affiliate KWWL channel 7 is based in Waterloo but maintains a newsroom inside the Alliant Energy tower in downtown Cedar Rapids. Other stations in the market are KWKB channel 20 (CW/MyNetwork TV), licensed to Iowa City; KWWF channel 22 (RTN), licensed to Waterloo; and KFXB channel 40 (CTN), licensed to Dubuque. Public television is provided by Iowa Public Television, which has two stations in the area: KIIN channel 12 in Iowa City and KRIN channel 32 in Waterloo. Mediacom and local company ImOn Communications provide cable television service to Cedar Rapids.

 Print

The Gazette is the primary daily newspaper for Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Gazette won a Pulitzer Prize in 1936, under editor Verne Marshall and primarily due to his efforts and articles, for its campaign against corruption and misgovernment in the State of Iowa.

 Film

Cedar Rapids is an American comedy film about a naive insurance agent Ed Helms who is sent to represent his company at a regional conference in big town Cedar Rapids. Although the film is set in Cedar Rapids, it was actually shot in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Infrastructure

Transportation

Cedar Rapids is served by The Eastern Iowa Airport (formerly known as the Cedar Rapids Airport), a regional airport that connects with other regional and international airports. Cedar Rapids Transit and private bus lines also connect at the airport.

Interstate 380, part of the Avenue of the Saints, runs north-south through Cedar Rapids. U.S. Highways 30, 151, and 218 and Iowa Highway 13 and Iowa Highway 100 also serve the city.

Cedar Rapids is served by four major railroads. They are the Union Pacific, the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway (Crandic), the Canadian National, and the Iowa Northern Railway Company [IANR]. The Iowa Northern Railway has its headquarters in the historic Paramount Theater Building. The Crandic and the Iowa Interstate Railroad also are headquartered in Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Interstate reaches the city via the Crandic tracks, running a daily train from Iowa City, Iowa to Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is linked to other Midwestern cities by the Burlington Trailways bus hub at the Eastern Iowa Airport.

The city is also served by Cedar Rapids Transit, consisting of an extensive bus system and taxis. Cedar Rapids Transit operates scheduled bus service throughout the city and to Marion and Hiawatha. A series of enclosed pedestrian skywalks connect several downtown buildings.

 Health care

There are two hospitals in Cedar Rapids, St. Luke's and Mercy Medical Center.


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