Can This Cedar Rapids Location Turn into an Attraction?
A group of community leaders has lofty goals for this spot, but will it work?
The location of a 150-year-old railroad bridge, that was destroyed by the flood of 2008, could become the new home of a beautiful new pedestrian bridge that planners think will draw people and business to Cedar Rapids.
First, let's look at what's there now. The railroad bridge, only partially intact, is a key part of the future plan. The video and photos below show the surrounding area of where the pedestrian bridge would be built. Admittedly, there's not much there now. An Alliant Energy substation sits just up the bank, next to Cargill. Other than that it's open space, much of it devastated by the flood that damaged the railroad bridge.
According to the Gazette, the hope is that the approaches and piers of the railroad bridge could be used on the new bridge, which Shive-Hattery tells me would be over 630-feet-in-length and is proposed to be 180-feet-tall.
Here are two incredible renderings of what it could look like.
Now for a bit of history about that railroad bridge. It was part of the Burlington Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad and early on, Sinclair Packing Company workers used it to cross the river to go to work. The area they lived in was known as Stump Town, named because of all the trees that had been cut down to build their housing. This very spot was once used by our forefathers to cross the Cedar. I think it's cool that could happen again.
Planners and dreamers, and I used that last word admiringly because it takes dreamers to make big things happen, believe the bridge would encourage more activity in New Bohemia, the Oakhill Jackson, and Czech Village.
The bridges backers are many, including the City of Cedar Rapids, the Linn County Trails Association, Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street board, NewBo Group, and the Southside Investment Board. They'll need a close collaboration to raise the necessary funds, estimated at $6 million.
Sure, when you look at the where the bridge would go now it's easy to doubt and say 'there's nothing here.' However, NewBo is a short distance away from where the proposed bridge would go. Take a look at that area and remember where it was a few short years ago. Today it's a bustling part of our city, with construction continuing to build the area.
One other thing, the bridge was designed with the High Trestle Bridge in central Iowa in mind. It's done exactly what Cedar Rapids planners hope a pedestrian bridge would do in Cedar Rapids. It's drawn lots of people, and photographers. Take a look at some of the amazing Instagram photos from that location. Hopefully, within a few years, we'll be seeing some coming from a new Cedar Rapids pedestrian bridge that truly would be a sight to see.
[via Shive-Hattery and Gazette]