Head5ConnectCR project gets city council backing

Rendering of the proposed Sleeping Giant Bridge. CREDIT Shive-Hattery.
The ConnectCR project that combines a dramatic recreational bridge over the Cedar River with major enhancements to Cedar Lake has won critical backing from the Cedar Rapids City Council.
Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to support ConnectCR, including a 25 percent funding commitment and a city role in negotiating an agreement to take over Cedar Lake from Alliant Energy and maintain the amenities.

The city will fund 25 percent of the cost, up to $1 million per year over five years, contingent on success in raising the remaining 75 percent.
The Cedar Lake and Sleeping Giant Bridge initiatives were combined under the ConnectCR banner and have drawn support from the Cedar Lake Study Committee, the Friends of Cedar Lake, the Southside Investment Board, the Linn County Trails Association and the New Bohemia Group. Former Mayor Lee Clancey was chosen to speak for the projects Tuesday. She said ConnectCR has all the elements of a successful community project, and will become a major attraction linking the metro and regional trail systems. 
The bridge project utilizes existing piers remaining from an old railroad bridge in the New Bohemia area near the former Sinclair meatpacking site. The 120-foot-tall lighted mast supporting the cables of the cable-stay bridge will resemble the smokestack of the plant, which once provided a livelihood for thousands of early Czech immigrants.
With Tuesday's vote, supporters will form a committee that will begin a public fundraising campaign this fall after some private fundraising contacts this summer. The city council agreed to support an application to the Hall-Perrine Foundation to fund part of the roughly $20 million project.

NewBoCo Executive Director Eric Engelmann says the nonprofit known for its Iowa Startup Accelerator is exploring a nonprofit innovation program, a social good accelerator, housing for residents and joint projects with Cedar Rapids' MedQuarter District.
Mr. Engelmann on Tuesday delivered a progress report to the city of Cedar Rapids, which helps fund the nonprofit. He was upbeat, describing a cascade of new initiatives and growth to 18 employees in three years.
"It's unusual," Mr. Engelmann said. "If we were a for-profit company, we would be on the [CBJ's] Fastest Growing Companies list."
Among the many NewBoCo initiatives Mr. Engelmann described is an expansion of NewBoCo's Delta V Code School to some smaller communities across the state that lack the resources to create their own adult software coding programs.
After starting an angel investor group to help fund startups, Mr. Engelmann said NewBoCo is also looking at a "micro venture capital pool" to enable smaller investments in Iowa Startup Accelerator companies.
A variety of educational innovation initiatives include bringing in world-class teachers to learn agile teaching methods, he said.
Council members reacted positively, with at least one saying they'd like to convince more entrepreneurs in the Iowa Startup Accelerator to make Cedar Rapids their permanent home.

For the complete list of this week's Movers & Shakers, see the June 26 edition of the CBJ.

Corporate headquarters of Hawkeye Hotels, located in Coralville. CREDIT Hawkeye Hotels.
Iowa-based Hawkeye Hotels last week officially opened its 21,000-square foot headquarters in Coralville, setting the stage for its continued growth in the region.

It will serve as the hub for the company's operations, sales, revenue management, data analytics, human resources, finance, accounting and payroll, development and construction, Hawkeye Hotels said in a press release.

It will also allow the company to expand its staffing and capabilities in areas such as management, construction, acquisitions and development.

Since the start of this year, the firm has built and bought 10 hotels, and is in the construction phase on another seven. Several more developments are planned for the second half of the year, the company said.
"It is important that Hawkeye Hotels attracts the highest caliber of hospitality professionals, and we have found no better place to do that than the Corridor," Chief Development Officer Raj Patel stated in a press release. "The relocation of our headquarters to Coralville not only supports our business strategy but also deepens our roots in this community that we love."

Hawkeye's first office in Burlington will remain open and serve as the central site for accounting and payroll.

The International Traders of Iowa - Eastern Iowa Chapter (ITI-EIC) will present "Financial Tools for Success: An Export Workshop" from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the PCI Community Room, 202 Tenth St. SE, Cedar Rapids.
The event is open to all interested individuals and businesses, especially senior and mid-level managers and corporate officers, to learn more about successful financial management with overseas business, enhancing international marketing efforts and effective risk management for international transactions.
Topics of interest to CEOs, CFOs, and other members of corporate management will include b usiness development and strategic growth planning, capital planning and budgeting for international growth, and due diligence analysis.Presenters will include R. Don Keysser from Hannover Ltd. and Catherine J. Petersen of CJ Petersen & Associates LLC.
For additional information or to register, visit the ITI website at
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EventHeadlinesShort-Term Event Planner

June 29
Marketing Your Sites, Buildings and Community Luncheon , by the Marion Economic Development Corp., noon-1 p.m., Legacy Manufacturing, 6509 Partners Ave., Marion. Michael Gould will lead a presentation and discussion on tools available to area development professionals seeking to connect their sites and buildings to business attraction efforts. Cost: $10. Lunch provided. Register at .
PWN New Member Orientation/Informational Event , by the Professional Women's Network, 5:30-7 p.m., Backpocket Pilot Pub, 415 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids. Join PWN for a night of casual networking with members and those interested in joining PWN, with information about the group and resources. For more information, visit . RSVP via email at .
July 11
Culture 201 Meeting , by the Eastern Iowa Human Resource Association, 7:30-9:30 a.m., Kirkwood Hotel Executive Technology Amphitheatre, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids. Join EIHRA for a presentation by Sean Abbas of Threads. Networking begins at 7:30 a.m. with announcements and a presentation to follow. Cost: Free for members, $15 for nonmembers. To register, visit
Headlines from CBS2/FOX 28
These news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28  
Cedar Rapids Police tell CBS2/FOX 28 they were called to a reported house fire with possible explosion late last night at 7007 Doubletree Road NE. Relatives tell our crew on the scene that a propane tank blew up just after 9 p.m. A man, who was trying to grill, was able to get away "mostly unharmed." Fire crews say the fire damaged the back roof of the home; smoke and water damage affected much of the rest of the home. Several viewers called to say they heard what sounded like an explosion and sirens as multiple departments responded to the scene.
T hese news items are provided by CBS2/FOX 28 
CBS2 Chief Meteorologist Terry Swails' Weather First Forecast
Storms will wind down this morning and there will be a lull in the activity through the middle of the day. There will be another round of storms that develop after 2 p.m., and some storms could be strong to severe. If the clouds and rain linger longer, the severe chances will be lower. Between 2-11 p.m. today, storms will move from north to south, and may be capable of producing strong winds and large hail. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Storms will start to wind down close to midnight and it will be mostly cloudy and mild overnight.