Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Cedar Rapids, IA - Mayor Lee R. Clancey

Comprehensive Planning Initiative

In 1997, Cedar Rapids officials recognized that the City's comprehensive planning efforts had been neglected for far too long; the last overall update had been completed in 1931. While separate elements of the plan had been given periodic attention, there was little of the cohesiveness among the elements which officials felt was necessary to develop a vision for the future. CDBG funds have been used to hire the consulting firm of Freilich, Leitner & Carlisle to work with local officials and residents in the preparation of an updated comprehensive plan which is expected to provide policy guidance for development through the year 2020 and beyond.

The process, originally estimated to take 18 to 24 months, is now scheduled to be completed early this summer. A multitude of people with varying backgrounds are on numerous committees. Additionally, several city-wide workshops which were open to the public have been held. Issues being assessed include land use policies, transportation and circulation, public facilities and services, housing, parks and recreation, annexation with growth management, and projection of a community identity.

Vision Statement - In 1991, the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce identified the need for a long-term community plan and began a series of meetings with government and community leaders and residents. With assistance from the National Civic League, a group of stakeholders was assembled in 1994 to develop a consensus on desired future goals and a series of specific plans for attaining them. They produced a vision statement and identified eight key performance areas: learning, families and community, crime and safety, environment and land use, recreation and culture, government for future generations, business growth economic vitality and community health care. This early work was used in the development of the new comprehensive plan and, within it, a new vision statement.

Community Assessment - As part of the comprehensive planning process, a four-part community assessment has been developed.

  • •The physical assessment evaluates environmental characteristics and prepares a comprehensive inventory of the City's form and function.
  • •The growth assessment explores recent trends in population, housing and employment characteristics in Cedar Rapids and summarizes growth projections.
  • •The facilities assessment identifies community facilities such as water, wastewater, transportation, educational facilities, parks and recreation, and fire and police protection.
  • •The community assessment describes the citizen-based planning process used.

Comprehensive Plan Update - A final draft of the comprehensive plan update has been completed and approval is pending. It specifies goals, objectives and policies for each of the issues which were assessed and evaluated.

Contact: Gary A. Hughes, Manager, Grants and Programs, (319) 286-5075

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