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Connect CR unveils a new design for the pedestrian bridge part of the project

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- Connect CR unveiled its new design for the pedestrian bridge that's part of a larger project of the same name. The non-profit Connect CR has been working with the City of Cedar Rapids in the biggest public private partnership the city is currently involved in.

Its new design involves widening the bridge, moving the tower to the west side of the river and adding a viewing area. The project is in response to calls from the community for more amenities and to connect Cedar Rapids to two national coast-to-coast trails -- the American Discovery Trail and the Great American Rail Trail.

Several amenities are also planned for the Cedar Lake Trail.

"Fishing piers, ADA kayak launches, new pavilions, a challenge course for kids and adults, better parking, better access, all the things the public's been asking for over the years while still respecting the landscaping," Cedar Rapids City Council member Dale Todd said.

The State's Department of Natural Resources is working to clear the lake of sediment to build up the lake and sustain trout fishing. There will be a boardwalk around the wetlands to protect the wildlife as part of the project.

Groundbreaking for the Cedar Lake amenities are planned for next month.

The City also added the Cedar Lake area to its flood control project.

"When the Army Corps did their initial cost benefit analysis, we thought they missed some things. And the reality is, if this area ever gets flooded again, that would include Coe College, Unity Point and there's about there's about 500 to 700 jobs that exist along Shaver Road that weren't included," Todd said.

The combined projects of the bridge and the lake amenities will cost $20 million. The City of Cedar Rapids is contributing $5 million and the state provided $500,000 in grant funding last year.

Both portions of the project are expected to be finished by 2025.

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Michele White

Cedar Rapids Multimedia Journalist

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