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Cedar Rapids: Economy

Cedar Rapids: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

The economy of Cedar Rapids has traditionally been based on the manufacture and processing of agricultural and food products, steel fabricating, tool and die making, and radios and electronics. Manufacturing, which continues to be an important economic sector, has been augmented by high-technology industries and transportation. The Cedar Rapids-Iowa City "Technology Corridor" is one of the leading centers in the country for the defense electronics industry; the fastest-growing segment of the metropolitan area economy is telecommunications and telemarketing. Advanced research and development laboratories, an educated and productive labor force, and a mid-continent location are increasingly attracting new business and industry to Cedar Rapids.

The city's association with high technology dates to the early years of Collins Radio Company. Today, Collins is part of Rockwell Collins, ranked as the largest employer in the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City region. The company provides aviation electronic and communication technology for government, aircraft manufacturers, and hundreds of airline customers. In fact, the company's aircraft electronics are used in almost every airline in the world. Additionally, Rockwell Collins' communication systems transmit almost 70 percent of all U.S. and allied military airborne communication.

In recent years, a number of local public and private organizations joined together to help develop the "Technology Corridor." This hub for technology companies is located throughout 12 communities in Johnson and Linn Counties. Its location near a number of colleges and universities enables Corridor companies to easily access education, training, research, and development. Local firms provide a variety of services such as electronic design and consultation, systems planning, equipment manufacturing, and telemarketing.

While Cedar Rapids has seen tremendous growth in technology, the city continues to succeed in attracting agricultural and food processing manufacturers. It is home to more than 275 different manufacturing plants, including Quaker Food and Beverages, which runs the world's largest cereal milling plant. Other top manufacturing employers include Amana Refrigeration Products, General Mills, Inc., and H.J. Heinz Company.

Items and goods produced: cereal, syrup, sugar, dairy, mining, and road machinery, boxboard and containers, automotive tools and machinery, radio electronics and avionics equipment, oil burners, furniture, pumps, gravel crushers, cranes, snow plows, electric-powered shovels, trailer parts, candy, office and drainage equipment, rubber goods, plastic bags, recycled corrugated cardboard, copper alloy and plastic molding, medical and chemical products, plumbing supplies, auto parts and toys, furnaces, livestock feed, structural steel, compressed gas, pharmaceuticals, avionics and earth-moving equipment, telecommunications equipment, home appliances

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and its divisions are active in implementing growth plans, helping existing businesses, and recruiting companies from throughout the world. Its economic development division, Priority One, provides businesses with demographics and trade figures, site location assistance, and workforce development.

State programs

Part of the private-public partnership Cedar Rapids fosters is evident in such state programs as certain property tax exemptions, job training, low-interest loans and forgivable loans for business development, tax abatements on new research and manufacturing facilities, and state tax credits for new job creation. In addition, no sales or use taxes are assessed on equipment or computers and open port warehousing is available.

Job training programs

Cedar Rapids area businesses can take advantage of the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program administered by Kirkwood Community College, which provides education and training for new employees of new and expanding companies at little or no cost.

Development Projects

Many companies have recently been relocating to or expanding current operations in the Cedar Rapids area. Nordstrom is expanding its existing fulfillment center by adding 39,000 square feet of space and creating 275 full-time positions. U.S. Cellular is expanding its engineering and customer call center, adding 15,000 square feet and 100 new jobs. Iowa Glass Co. is in the process of building a new $10 million corporate headquarters and distribution center, and German fiber manufacturer J. Rettenmaier & SMhne recently announced plans to build a dietary fiber production facility in the city.

Economic Development Information: Priority One, Economic Development Division, Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, 424 First Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401; telephone (319)398-5317; email infodesk@priority1.com

Commercial Shipping

A central location, efficient access, and low supply and distribution costs have contributed to the development of Cedar Rapids as a primary transportation hub in the Midwest. The city is at the center of the NAFTA corridor, and international connections are readily accessible. Additionally, Eastern Iowa Airport is a designated Foreign Trade Zone. The 3,200-square-acre airport served one million passengers in 2000, a milestone in its history. A leader in exporting goods, Cedar Rapids works closely with top importers in Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and France. Iowa is the only state bordered by two navigable rivers, and many area exports leave via water.

Cedar Rapids' rail system also provides transportation services to many businesses. The Union Pacific East-West mainline travels through the city, as well as the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway. The lines interchange with a number of major national airlines serving all of North America. In addition, Cedar Rapids is the only area able to serve Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, and Omaha by freight carrier within a one-day round trip. More than 34 motor freight carriers with terminals located in the area provide interstate, intrastate and local freight services.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

With an educated, available, and skilled workforce, Cedar Rapids maintains a productivity rate that is substantially above the national average. Absenteeism is less than 1 percent and industrial turnover is less than 1.5 percent. Area workers produce 20 percent more than the average American worker and score high in rankings of annual value added per production worker. With 69 percent of the workforce having education beyond high school, and 48 percent having an undergraduate degree or higher, local businesses have a large pool of educated workers to choose from. And in order to further train those workers, Cedar Rapids area businesses can take advantage of the Iowa Industrial New Jobs Training Program, which provides education and training for new employees of new and expanding companies at little or no cost. The program is administered by Kirkwood Community College.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 129,500

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 7,100

manufacturing: 19,300

trade, transportation, and utilities: 28,100

information: 5,700

financial activities: 9,700

professional and business services: 12,300

education and health services: 16,000

leisure and hospitality: 10,600

other services: 5,300

government: 15,300

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.08 (statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 5.9% (February 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
Rockwell Collins 7,162
Mercy Medical Center 2,862
Cedar Rapids Community Schools 2,860
AEGON Insurance Group 2,632
St. Luke's Hospital 2,400
Amana Refrigeration Products 2,300
MCI 1,880
City of Cedar Rapids 1,700
Hy-Vee Food Stores 1,691
Alliant Energy 1,650
McLeodUSA Incorporated 1,645

Cost of Living

Cedar Rapids's property taxes are the second-lowest of the state's eight largest cities with more than 50,000 people.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Cedar Rapids area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $221,000

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 94.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 0.36% to 8.98%

State sales tax rate: 5.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $34.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for properties within the Cedar Rapids Community School District; 51.6676% of the assessed value is subject to the property tax rate; therefore, a $100,000 house would be taxed as if it were valued at $51,667

Economic Information: Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, 424 First Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401; telephone (319)398-5317.

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Cedar Rapids: Recreation

Cedar Rapids: Recreation

Sightseeing

A trip to Cedar Rapids might include a visit to Brucemore Mansion and Gardens, which is a National Trust Historic Site. A 21-room Queen Anne-style mansion on a 26-acre estate, Brucemore is the ancestral home of three prominent families who used it as a center for culture and arts. Built in 1884, it is now used for a variety of cultural events, including dance and drama performance, historical tours, garden walks, lectures, workshops, and educational programs.

The National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library preserve the city's ethnic heritage; they offer two exhibit galleries that focus on Czech and Slovak history and culture. In the area downtown along the Cedar River known as The Czech Village, shops, bakeries, and stores feature authentic crafts and foods. The Science Station, housed in a refurbished brick 1917 fire station, offers hands-on science and technology exhibits for children and adults. In 2001 the McLeod/Busse IMAX Dome Theatre was added to the property, offering science and nature themed movies on a six-story wraparound screen. The Iowa Equestrian Center at Kirkwood Community College is one of Cedar Rapids' newest attractions, and the state's most comprehensive facilities for horse shows, workshops, programs, and equestrian events. It has indoor and outdoor arenas and facilities for 266 horses.

Several points of interest are within driving distance of Cedar Rapids. The Amana Colonies, 20 minutes south of the city, is Iowa's primary tourist attraction. It is composed of seven villages first settled in 1855 by German immigrants searching for religious freedom. Today, the Colonies are home to furniture stores, wineries, bakeries, and German restaurants run by the settlers' descendents. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and National Historic Site is in West Branch, 25 miles from Cedar Rapids. Attractions there include the presidential library and museum, a Quaker meeting house, a blacksmith shop, Hoover's birthplace, and Hoover's grave site.

Arts and Culture

An important part of cultural life in Cedar Rapids is the Museum of Art, with 5,000 works of art under its roof. The museum houses the world's largest collection of works by Grant Wood, Marvin Cone, and Mauricio Lasansky. They also have strong collections of early twentieth century paintings, Malvina Hoffman sculptures, and Regionalist art from the 1930s and 1940s. In 2003 Cedar Rapids also became home to the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa. This building features exhibits on Africa, the nation, and Iowa, and holds community and educational programs.

The city's cultural community presents a variety of concerts and shows and hosts visiting international performance groups. The renovated Paramount Theatre for the Performing Arts, with a hall of mirrors and Broadway-style marquee, is the home of the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra. The symphony performs four concert series: Classics, Pops, Chamber, and Discovery Family. In 1998, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre began performing two to three operas per season. Past performances have included Pirates of Penzance and La Traviata. Its Young Artists Program allows pre-professional singers the opportunity to perform in mainstage productions.

Theatre Cedar Rapids presents eight mainstage shows in a repertoire ranging from musicals to drama, and is one of the 20 largest community theatres in the country. It is housed in the Iowa Theatre Building, first opened in 1928 and extensively renovated in 1980. Off-season the building is busy hosting a variety of other performances, including comedy shows and concerts. The Old Creamery Theatre Company performs an April-to-December season at the Amana Colonies. Area colleges sponsor a host of cultural programs. Among them is the Summer Rep series at the University of Iowa University Theatres, which features works each season by a single modern playwright. The university's Hancher Auditorium hosts more than 40 major international cultural events each year in its 2,500-seat auditorium.

For a taste of small-town Iowa during the turn of the century, visitors can walk through the Ushers Ferry Historic Village. Composed of more than 30 authentic buildings and homes over 10 acres of land, the facility gives tours, workshops, and historical reenactments. Turn-of-the-century farm life can be relived at Seminole Valley Farm, where the restored family farm and outbuildings are now home to tours and history exhibits. In nearby Marion, the nineteenth-century Granger House is open for tours of the Victorian home and carriage house.

Festivals and Holidays

A festival, parade, or show is scheduled nearly every weekend of the year in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival, a city staple for more than 20 years, is an 11-day festival encompassing more than 75 events for all ages during the month of July. Also in July, nearby Hiawatha hosts its Hog Wild Days, a week-long festival that raises money for community programs. During the spring, the Marion Arts Festival brings together 50 artists from across the country, displaying and selling a wide variety of art. Live music, food vendors, and family-friendly activities are also featured. In January, the Amana Colonies is home to WinterFest, a day of Winter fun including a 5K run/walk, wagon rides, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and winery tours.

Sports for the Spectator

The Cedar Rapids Kernels, a Class A farm club of the National League Anaheim Angels professional baseball club, play a full home schedule in the Midwest League at Veterans Memorial Park, which seats 5,300 people. For automobile-racing enthusiasts, Hawkeye Downs Speedway hosts a number of sanctioned racing events in modern facilities. Visiting regional and national series have included the NASCAR REMAX Series, American IndyCar Series, and the IMCA Summer Series. Hockey enthusiasts are crowding games of the new RoughRiders junior hockey team at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. In 2004 Cedar Rapids acquired the Cedar Rapids River Raiders, a member of the United States Basketball League. They play home games at U.S. Cellular Center.

The full range of major college sports is presented at the University of Iowa in nearby Iowa City, where the Hawk-eyes engage in Big Ten competition. Coe College, Mount Mercy College, and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, and Cornell College in Mount Vernon compete in a number of sports.

Sports for the Participant

Cedar Rapids has the largest park system in Iowa, with more than 75 parks on more than 4,000 acres of land. Recreation facilities include 6 aquatic centers, 50 ball fields, 30 volleyball courts, 3 outdoor ice rinks, 4 cross-country ski trails, 50 tennis courts, and 30 soccer fields. For the golfing enthusiast, the city also has 4 municipal golf courses, 4 privately owned golf courses, and 3 country clubs. At Cheyenne Park, dog owners can use an 18-acre, fenced, off-leash dog exercise area. The area is also home to many miles of nature trails. The Cedar Valley Nature Trail, once a railroad bed, offers 52 miles of trails for biking, hiking, and skiing through recreation areas, along riverbanks, and through small towns. The Sac and Fox National Recreational Trail follows Indian Creek through wooded areas and is used for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, skiing, and dog sledding.

Recreation Information: Cedar Rapids Parks Department, telephone (319)286-5080

Shopping and Dining

The Cedar Rapids area offers a wide range of shopping and dining attractions. The city is home to two enclosed malls with a combined total of more than 170 shops. Downtown, more than 103 individual stores are woven through the city streets. In nearby Williamsburg, shoppers can find the Tanger Factory Outlet Center, with more than 70 outlet stores. Additionally, Czech Village and the Amana Colonies offer an assortment of specialty shops. Dining choices consist of a mix of ethnic and traditional cuisines, with an abundance of regional and national chains as well as unique locally owned restaurants. Three farmer's markets operate in the warm-weather months, offering locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, and baked goods.

Visitor Information: Cedar Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 119 First Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406; toll-free (800)735-5557.

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Cedar Rapids: History

Cedar Rapids: History

Cedar River Supports Settlement

The Sac and the Fox, Native American tribes, hunted and trapped along the Cedar River before the arrival of Osgood Shepherd, the area's first permanent settler of European descent. Shepherd lived in a cabin on the river's east side in 1838 at what is now the location of First Avenue and First Street. A survey was made in 1841 and the newly formed town was named Rapids City after the rapids on the Cedar River; the name was changed to Cedar Rapids in 1848. In the early 1840s a dam was built across the river to provide power for the grist and lumber industries. Cedar Rapids was incorporated as a city in 1849; the town of Kingston, located on the west side of the river, was annexed to Cedar Rapids in 1870.

The early history of Cedar Rapids was highlighted by colorful characters and events. An islandnow named Municipal Islandin the channel of the Cedar River was until 1851 the headquarters of the Shepherd gang, notorious horse thieves. Local residents built the steamer The Cedar Rapids in 1858 and used it for round trips to St. Louis; however, a collision on the Mississippi River and the arrival of the railroad ended river transportation.

Czechoslovakians, known as Bohemians, have made lasting contributions to the Cedar Rapids community. Czechs began arriving in 1852 to work in local packing plants, and soon a "Little Bohemia" was established in the southwest sector of the city (it is now known as "Czech Village"). Josef Sosel, the first Czech lawyer in the United States, was smuggled out of his native country in a barrel after he was accused of revolutionary activities; Sosel settled in Cedar Rapids, where he played a prominent role in the Czech community. In 1869 Czechs established The Reading Society, which evolved into a Little Theater movement, as well as the Light Guard Band. The Czech-language Cedar Rapids Listy began publication in 1906.

Industry and Arts Flourish

The economic growth of Cedar Rapids was spurred in 1871 with the arrival, from Ireland, of T. M. Sinclair, who established one of the nation's largest meatpacking companies, T. M. Sinclair Company. Some other major local industries that date from the same era are Cherry-Burrell and the world's largest cereal mill, Quaker Oats. Cultural development was simultaneous with economic expansion, as many Cedar Rapids arts and educational institutions were formed during this period. Greene's Opera House was dedicated in 1880, the same year the Cedar Rapids Business College opened its doors. Among the school's first faculty members was Austin Palmer, the inventor of the Palmer Method of Penmanship.

For more than 60 years, city fathers challenged nearby Marion for designation as the county seat; in 1919, voters endorsed a move to Cedar Rapids. The county courthouse and the Memorial Building, dedicated in 1928 to Americans who have fought in the nation's wars, were built on Municipal Island. Grant Wood, the Iowa artist, designed the 20-foot by 24-foot stained glass window in the Memorial Building and supervised its construction in Munich, Germany.

The artistry of Wood, one of the leading practitioners of Midwestern regionalism, is felt throughout the city. Wood grew up in Cedar Rapids and taught in the community junior high school; after studying in France he returned to the city and, supported by a local patron, set up a studio. Wood's "American Gothic" caused a sensation in the art world for its uncompromising realism when it was unveiled in 1930. Wood's daring work led to success and he was hired in 1934 to teach art at the University of Iowa.

Telecommunications Help Shape City's Future

Private enterprise, a principal force in the city's economic history, continued to be important during the first half of the twentieth century. Another Cedar Rapids native, Arthur Collins, started Collins Radio Company with eight employees during the Great Depression; the small electronics firm soon established a reputation as a leader in the industrial radio business. The company supplied electronic equipment to all branches of the armed services during World War II. Collins Radio, a major employer in the Cedar Rapids area, became a part of Rockwell Collins in 1973. Today the Cedar Rapids metropolitan area is a telecommunications and transportation center, performing an important role in the nation's economy. The Cedar Rapids "Technology Corridor" is one of the leading centers in the country for the defense electronics industry. The city has also developed a reputation as a cultural and artistic hub, with a thriving theater community and a wealth of sports and recreational activities for all. Known as the "City of Five Seasons," Cedar Rapids residents profess to have a quality of life that allows for the addition of a fifth season, one to enjoy the community and the other four seasons.

Historical Information: The Carl and Mary Koehler History Center, 615 1st Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401; telephone (319)362-1501

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Cedar Rapids: Education and Research

Cedar Rapids: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Cedar Rapids Community School District is the second-largest of Iowa's 397 public school systems. The average composite ACT score for Iowa high school students is 22.0, ranking Iowa second in the nation; Cedar Rapids' average score is 23.5. The average daily attendance rate in 2003/2004 was 96 percent. As a result of the .38 percent dropout rate for high school students, the district was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal. Forty-nine percent of teachers have master's degrees. The district is working through a multi-year, $52 million facilities improvement plan. Additionally, $4.1 million was spent on new curriculum, teaching tools, and technology in 2003.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Cedar Rapids public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 17,729 (including home-schooled children)

Number of facilities elementary schools: 21

middle schools: 5

senior high schools: 4 (including one alternative high school)

Student/teacher ratio: 16:1

Teacher salaries (statewide) average: $39,432

Funding per pupil: $7,236

Catholic schools in the metropolitan area enroll nearly 3,000 students.

Public Schools Information: Cedar Rapids Community Schools, Community Relations, 346 Second Avenue SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404; telephone (319)558-2124

Colleges and Universities

Six institutions of higher learning are located in the Cedar Rapids area. Coe College, Mount Mercy College, and Cornell College are all four-year, private, liberal arts colleges. Coe College, founded in 1851, offers 40 degree choices and small class size, with an enrollment of 1,300 students. Mount Mercy College was founded by the Sisters of Mercy and offers 35 majors, with 1,400 students. Cornell College, founded in 1853, has an enrollment of just over 1,100 students, and is ranked in the top 7 percent of the nation's colleges and universities.

In nearby Iowa City, the University of Iowa offers 100 undergraduate degree programs, 110 graduate degree programs and 74 doctorate degree programs. Its medical, dental, law, pharmacy, and business colleges are nationally recognized. The University of Iowa Education and Conference Center is located in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Kirkwood Community College provides vocational/technical, arts and sciences, and adult continuing education programs. Current full-time enrollment is nearly 14,000 students. Hamilton Business College is the oldest business college in Iowa, offering one year diplomas and two year associate degree programs.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Cedar Rapids Public Library operates an architecturally impressive main facility as well as another branch on the west side of the city. It houses an up-to-date collection and a diverse array of services in comfortable surroundings. The library computer system, CD-ROM and Internet stations make information retrieval easy and convenient. The library offers programs for all ages, including story times, crafts, puppet and magic shows, author lectures, readings, demonstrations, and discussions.

Cedar Rapids is also served by the Coe College and Kirkwood Community College libraries. Among special libraries are the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, which collects published and unpublished resources by and about the Czech and Slovak peoples, and the Iowa Masonic Library, which contains 100,000 volumes of reference materials and a collection of colonial, Native American, and foreign exhibits.

The University of Iowa Libraries house more than 4 million volumes and more than 40,000 serials, making it one of the largest research collections in the country. The university's law library was recently ranked as one of the top five law libraries in the nation.

Public Library Information: Cedar Rapids Public Library, 500 First Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401; telephone (319)398-5123

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Cedar Rapids: Population Profile

Cedar Rapids: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 169,775

1990: 168,767

2000: 191,701

2003 estimate: 196,006

Percent change, 19902000: 13.6%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 173rd

City Residents

1980: 110,243

1990: 108,772

2000: 120,758

2003 estimate: 122,542

Percent change, 19902000: 10.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 141st

U.S. rank in 1990: 174th

U.S. rank in 2000: 181st (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 1,912.6 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 112,874

Black or African American: 5,614

American Indian and Alaska Native: 792

Asian: 2,564

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 116

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 2,065

Other: 1,112

Percent of residents born in state: 73.7% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 8,625

Population 5 to 9 years old: 8,649

Population 10 to 14 years old: 7,765

Population 15 to 19 years old: 8,544

Population 20 to 24 years old: 9,039

Population 25 to 34 years old: 18,338

Population 35 to 44 years old: 18,708

Population 45 to 54 years old: 15,670

Population 55 to 59 years old: 5,266

Population 60 to 64 years old: 4,360

Population 65 to 74 years old: 7,728

Population 75 to 84 years old: 5,853

Population 85 years and older: 2,213

Median age: 34.7 years

Births (2002)

Total number: 1,807

Deaths (2002)

Total number: 1,007

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $22,589

Median household income: $43,704

Total households: 49,879

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 3,207

$10,000 to $14,999: 3,001

$15,000 to $24,999: 6,163

$25,000 to $34,999: 6,852

$35,000 to $49,999: 9,272

$50,000 to $74,999: 11,619

$75,000 to $99,999: 5,342

$100,000 to $149,999: 3,039

$150,000 to $199,999: 614

$200,000 or more: 770

Percent of families below poverty level: 4.9% (41.6% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 7,233

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Cedar Rapids: Transportation

Cedar Rapids: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Cedar Rapids Airport, just south of the center of the city off of I-380, handles an average of 80 commercial flights daily. It offers direct service to Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. One third of the country's population is within an hour's flight from Cedar Rapids. All passengers have access to the airport's Information Center and Business Center. In 2000, one million passengers were served in one year, marking a milestone in the airport's history.

Cedar Rapids is linked with points throughout the nation by two interstate highways, I-380 (north-south) and I-80 (east-west). Federal highways are 30/218, which runs east to west through the south sector Cedar Rapids, and 151, which intersects the city diagonally northeast to southwest. State routes include 150, running parallel with I-380, and east-west 94. Cedar Rapids is located mid-point on the newly designated "Avenue of the Saints" that connects St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Paul, Minnesota. The area is also served by a number of commuter rail lines.

Traveling in the City

The Cedar River divides Cedar Rapids into east and west sectors; for address purposes, streets are designated according to quadrants: northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest. The City Bus Department and taxis are headquartered in the Ground Transportation Center on Fourth Avenue. Linn County LIFTS provides service to the elderly and handicapped in the metropolitan area with specially-equipped buses.

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Cedar Rapids: Communications

Cedar Rapids: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The major daily newspaper in Cedar Rapids is the Cedar Rapids Gazette, a locally owned morning paper. Also published in the city is Iowa Farmer Today, a weekly agricultural newspaper; Iowa Pork Today, an agricultural magazine published monthly; and Buildings, a monthly magazine about facilities construction and management. The Fraternal Herald (Bratrsky Vestnik ) is a monthly benefit society magazine.

Television and Radio

NBC, CBS, and ABC television affiliates broadcast from Cedar Rapids, and cable service is available. Eleven AM and FM radio stations schedule musical, special interest, nostalgia, news, and public affairs programming.

Media Information: Cedar Rapids Gazette, 500 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406; telephone (319)398-8333

Cedar Rapids Online

Cedar Rapids Community Schools. Available www.cr.k12.ia.us

Cedar Rapids Downtown District. Available www.downtowncr.org

Cedar Rapids Gazette online. Available www.gazetteonline.com

Cedar Rapids Public Library. Available www.crlibrary.org

Chamber of Commerce. Available www.cedarrapids.org

City and area information. Available www.fyiowa.com

Convention and Visitor Information. Available www.cedar-rapids.com

Priority One Economic Development Department. Available www.priority1.com

Selected Bibliography

Engle, Paul. A Lucky American Childhood (Singular Lives) (University of Iowa Press, 1996)

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Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids: Introduction
Cedar Rapids: Geography and Climate
Cedar Rapids: History
Cedar Rapids: Population Profile
Cedar Rapids: Municipal Government
Cedar Rapids: Economy
Cedar Rapids: Education and Research
Cedar Rapids: Health Care
Cedar Rapids: Recreation
Cedar Rapids: Convention Facilities
Cedar Rapids: Transportation
Cedar Rapids: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1841 (incorporated, 1849)

Head Official: Mayor Paul D. Pate (since 2002)

City Population

1980: 110,243

1990: 108,772

2000: 120,758

2003 estimate: 122,542

Percent change, 19902000: 10.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 141st

U.S. rank in 1990: 174th

U.S. rank in 2000: 181st (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 169,775

1990: 168,767

2000: 191,701

2003 estimate: 196,006

Percent change, 19902000: 13.6%

U.S. rank in 1990: Not reported

U.S. rank in 2000: 173rd

Area: 63 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 733 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 49.6° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 36.39 inches of rain, 34.4 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Services, trade, manufacturing

Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $22,589 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 7,233

Major Colleges and Universities: Coe College; Mount Mercy College

Daily Newspaper: Cedar Rapids Gazette

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Cedar Rapids: Health Care

Cedar Rapids: Health Care

Two major medical centers serve Cedar Rapids: Mercy Medical Center and St. Luke's Hospital, both of which have been recognized to be among the 100 top orthopedic hospitals in the United States. St. Luke's Hospital specializes in cardiac care, behavioral health, obstetrics, rehabilitation, pediatrics, and surgery. In 2000, St. Luke's opened the area's largest ambulatory surgery unit in an effort to make outpatient procedures more convenient for patients and medical staff. Mercy Medical Center's facilities include the Mercy Cancer Center, which participates in National Cancer Institute clinical research programs. In 2002 Mercy built the J. Edward Lundy Pavilion, a 170,000 square foot facility which houses the Katz Cardiovascular Center, Mercy Surgical Services, Women's Center, and Birthplace obstetrical unit. The medical community includes nearly 300 practicing physicians covering every area of specialty. The health care needs of area residents are also attended to at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, the nation's largest teaching hospital, located a 25 minutes away.

Health Care Information: St. Luke's Hospital, 1026 A Avenue NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406; telephone (319)369-7211. Mercy Medical Center, 710 Tenth Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403; telephone (319)398-6011

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Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids, city (1990 pop. 108,751), seat of Linn co., E central Iowa, on the Cedar River; inc. as a city 1856. The second largest city in Iowa, it is named for the surging rapids in the river. It is a commercial and industrial city as well as a distribution and rail center for an extensive agricultural area. Manufactures include food and beverages, electrical equipment, machinery, and metal and plastic products. Coe College and Mt. Mercy College are there. Of note are the city's Masonic Library (1884); an art museum with a collection by the artist Grant Wood; the National Czech and Slovak Museum (1995); and Municipal Island, a strip of land in the main channel of the Cedar River, on which the municipal building and a neoclassical war memorial are located. In 2008 Cedar Rapids suffered the worst flooding in its history; roughly one seventh of the city was inundated. The Duane Arnold Energy Center, the first nuclear-powered generator in Iowa, is nearby.

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Cedar Rapids: Convention Facilities

Cedar Rapids: Convention Facilities

Cedar Rapids offers a variety of convention facilities depending on one's needs. The multipurpose Cedar Rapids Education and Conference Center, in downtown Cedar Rapids, houses different sized rooms with up-to-date multimedia equipment. The facility partners with a number of local hotels and restaurants. Coe College, Kirkwood Community College, and Mount Mercy College also offer smaller conference facilities, and for those groups looking for an abundance of space, the Hawkeye Downs Speedway, U.S. Cellular Center, and Veterans Memorial Coliseum have facilities available.

Hotels and motels in metropolitan Cedar Rapids offer accommodations for a range of meeting and convention needs. More than 3,000 rooms are available.

Convention Information: Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau, 119 First Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406; telephone (319)398-5009, ext. 126.

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Cedar Rapids: Municipal Government

Cedar Rapids: Municipal Government

Cedar Rapids is administered by a commission-mayor form of government. The City Council has executive, legislative and administrative authority. The five council members and the mayor, who is a member of the council, are elected to two-year, non-partisan terms.

Head Official: Mayor Paul D. Pate (since January 2002; current term expires January 2006)

Total Number of City Employees: 1,700 (2004)

City Information: City of Cedar Rapids, 51 First Avenue Bridge, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401; telephone (319)286-5000

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Cedar Rapids: Geography and Climate

Cedar Rapids: Geography and Climate

Cedar Rapids is situated on the Cedar River, which flows through the city, on rolling terrain in eastern Iowa. The surrounding area is laced with rivers and lakes and dotted with limestone bluffs. The climate consists of four distinct seasons, with warm days and cool nights in spring and autumn.

Area: 63 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 733 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 19.1° F; July, 74.6° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 36.39 inches of rain, 34.4 inches of snow

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Cedar Rapids: Introduction

Cedar Rapids: Introduction

Cedar Rapids preserves a small-town atmosphere in a metropolitan setting. The industrial and cultural center of eastern Iowa, the city has undergone growth and development as it gains prominence in high-technology industries and in export trade. Expansion has been carefully monitored by civic leaders, however, so that international business may be conducted at an unhurried pace and residents may maintain their midwestern traditions. Cedar Rapids is the seat of Linn County and adjoins the city of Marion.

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