Waterfront and River Recreation Feasibility and Implementation Study, Cedar Rapids, Iowa


City of Cedar Rapids

The City of Cedar Rapids asked Crane Associates to determine how to best leverage its river and downtown waterfront to create vibrancy in its downtown, attract visitors, and most importantly improve the quality of life for its residents. The study was a comprehensive feasibility study to create safe and fun river recreation for all ages and abilities. The work included:

* an environmental assessment of the Cedar River, its watershed, hydrology, geomorphology, water quality, and streambank conditions;

* a physical assessment of two functioning dams within the 7 miles study area;

* a public survey of city residents about their perceptions of the river, their current uses, and future demands for recreation on their local river;

* an extensive market study in the 8-state upper Midwest region that determined the primary and secondary market areas for river recreation;

* a market survey of river recreationists;

* three design alternatives for a whitewater park in downtown Cedar Rapids;

* assurances that alterations to the river will not negatively impact the city’s Flood Control System;

* recommendations on the preferred design with construction cost estimates, and;

* a 4-year implementation strategy with detailed actions steps.  

The work concluded in December 2020. To view or download the full report or Executive Summary click link below.

Download Full ReportDownload Executive Summary
I was the Assistant Director of Community Development and Planning when the Crane Associates team was hired to complete a River Recreation Feasibility Study. The objective of the study was to identify feasible on-river recreation uses, select a preferred option that would allow the community to realize the full benefit of the river, attract visitors, increase the vibrancy of downtown, and improve the quality of life for Cedar Rapids residents. A concept plan was also needed to engage the community, elected officials, and the local paddling group. Michael and Crane Associates exceeded my expectations. Michael used an inclusive planning process that engaged the general public and the paddling community, provided detailed economic impact information important for gaining support from elected officials and the downtown business community, and a concept plan. The concept plan was supported by topographic, hydraulic, and hydrologic data collected by the Crane Associates Team. Michael worked well with the public and understands what is necessary to gain support from elected officials. The Feasibility Study was a success and was imperative to moving the community towards the next step.
William Micheel, Assistant Director, Cedar Rapids Community Development
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TEL: +1-802-657-3720EMAIL: michael@craneassociates.us