Previous month:
April 2020
Next month:
June 2020

May 2020

City of Cedar Rapids Launches Eviction Prevention Program

Cedar RapidsCEDAR RAPIDS, IA – On April 28, 2020, Cedar Rapids City Council approved the recommendation of the Community Development Department to allocate $623,757 in additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to establish an eviction prevention program. On May 26, 2020, City Council approved the guidelines for this program, which is set to launch on Friday, May 29, 2020. The program provides low to moderate-income households impacted by COVID-19 with rent and utility payment assistance.

Cedar Rapids Housing Services staff is coordinating referrals for the program through local Iowa Legal Aid, Horizons, and other social service agencies, to ensure those at highest risk of eviction receive these resources, as well as additional support to maintain stable housing. The City will be monitoring a similar program recently announced by the Iowa Finance Authority to ensure funds are used efficiently to meet the greatest needs.

The City of Cedar Rapids has been a recipient of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for over 40 years, and a participating jurisdiction in the HOME Investment Partnership Program since 1994. Additional funding for the program year July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 totaling $623,757 was received as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Mayor and City Council recognized early on that housing assistance would be a critical need for many Cedar Rapids residents during this time,” said Jeff Pomeranz, Cedar Rapids City Manager. “This program will provide direct support to citizens who have been greatly impacted with a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In April 2020, the City conducted a survey of all registered landlords to get feedback regarding what issues landlords were facing due to COVID-19. The survey results show that roughly 8 percent of the reported units were behind on rent, which 43 percent of landlords state is an increase over this time last year. Nearly half reported that they plan to offer a payment plan option to tenants in lieu of eviction.

Cedar Rapids residents facing eviction should contact Iowa Legal Aid’s COVID-19 Legal Advice Hotline at 1-800-332-0419. More information is available on the City’s website at cedar-rapids.org or call the Community Development Housing Division at 319-286-5872.


Cedar Rapids’ Bike Share Program Returns

Cedar RapidsCEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Cedar Rapids’ Bike Share program is returning this year. Bikes and scooters will begin arriving within the next two weeks.  

The program will consist of 150 electric-assist bikes and 70 electric scooters, with a total of 90 designated bike racks throughout the downtown and surrounding districts (MedQuarter, NewBo, Czech Village, Kingston Village). The program proved extremely popular last year, with more than 17,000 bike rides and more than 12,000 scooter rides logged between May – November 2019. More than 5,000 users enjoyed riding a bike or scooter last year for either recreation or transportation as part of the Bike Share program.  

For the health and safety of riders, the program’s vendor, VeoRide, will disinfect the bikes and stations twice daily on average. Riders are encouraged to practice good hygiene: wash hands often (particularly after riding), do not touch your face, and use hand sanitizer.  

“We recognize the value in offering additional transportation options to residents, as well as a healthy outlet for physical fitness and activity,” says Assistant Director of Community Development Bill Micheel. “Last year’s pilot program was extremely successful, and we look forward to offering this service again this year.”  

Bike Share Program  

The bikes are accessible through the VeoRide app (free on any app provider), which enables riders to unlock the bikes for $1, with a charge of 15 cents per each minute of use.  

Using the Bike Share System for Bikes or Scooters 

·         Download the VeoRide mobile app for free.

·         Create an account.

·         Scan the QR code on any scooter or bike (or enter the ID number) to begin your ride.

·         When finished, park in a designated bike rack.

·         The fare will end once you lock the bike or click "end ride" on the scooter.

·         Payment is completed through the app. 

Park Responsibly

Park in one of the conveniently-located green bike racks, shown on the app. Scooters may be parked in any green bike rack or in the designated parking area for scooters, painted on the sidewalk near bike racks. Parking in bike racks or in designated parking areas ensures sidewalks and building entrances remain open and accessible for pedestrians, while keeping the system neat and organized. 

Walk Your Wheels – No Bikes/Scooters on Sidewalks

In the downtown and surrounding districts: bikes, scooters, and skateboards are not permitted to ride on sidewalks. Please walk your wheels in these areas for the safety of pedestrians, or enjoy riding your bike or scooter in a bike lane (bikes may also use the full travel lane). Sidewalk decals and street signage have been installed in areas where riding on the sidewalk is not permitted.  

About the Vendor

As the vendor, VeoRide is responsible for maintaining the fleet of bikes and scooters and has staff who disinfect the bikes, return lost bikes to stations, and perform routine maintenance. Lost or damaged bikes will be recovered, repaired, or replaced at no cost to the city. 

To contact VeoRide, call (855) 836-2256 or email hello@veoride.com to report any concerns.  

To see videos on how the bikes work, or for additional safety reminders, please visit www.cityofcr.com/bikeshare.


Interim Police Chief condemns killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer

On Friday, May 29, 2020, Iowa City Police Department's Interim Police Chief Bill Campbell released the following statement on the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer:

The death of Mr. George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer is tragic. Like many of you, I watched the video in disbelief, sadness, and frustration, as those who took an oath to protect us, failed to make good on that promise. This is of great concern to our nation, community, and police department. The manner in which these officers treated Mr. Floyd is inconsistent with how we train police officers to conduct their interactions with the public. As we make clear in our Departmental Mission Statement, we strive, “To work in partnership with the community, enhance trust, protect with courage and compassion, and empower victims of crime through excellence in service.”

I will have more to say about our Department and its commitment to serving our community at our City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, alongside Mayor Bruce Teague who will be speaking out against this violent act.


Governor announces Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program details for those with COVID-19 related lost wages

COVID-19 artwork

The Governor announced on Friday, May 29, 2020 new details on how the State will help fund rent or mortgage costs for Iowans who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program will help renters and home owners who have lost wages by:

  • Providing up to four months of assistance.
  • The program can provide up to $3,200 for renters, and $3,000 for home owners. 

Some qualifications for the program include: 

  • Individual or household has to earn no more than 80% of the median family income for the County. 
  • They must not be receiving the extra $600 in additional federal CARES Act stimulus unemployment benefits.

Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis and assistance will be provided to eligible applicants on a first come, first ready to proceed basis until all funds have been exhausted.

Applications must be submitted online through the online application portal. Applications will not be accepted by email, US mail, fax, or any other means. 

To learn more about the program, please visit the Iowa Finance Authority's website.


Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department COVID-19 Update

Iowa CityIowa City Parks and Recreation will reopen playgrounds and Terrel Mill Skate Park on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Signage at the parks will be updated the same day. Registration for new Summer recreation sport skills programs will begin online on June 1, with basketball courts reopening as well. 

City staff are in discussions with the Iowa City Community School District and youth sports associations to determine opening plans for athletic fields. 

  • Weekly Party in the Park events will begin on Thursday, June 18 with an event a Riverfront Crossings Park.
  • Registration is open for a summer child care camp which will begin on June 15 at Mercer/Scanlon Recreation Center.
  • Individual sports like running, biking, swimming, and tennis, will be allowed, though dates for reopening the City's indoor pools have yet to be determined. City Park Pool will remain closed through the 2020 season. Splash pads also remain closed. 

Bathrooms and drinking fountains at all parks will remain closed. Water will be turned on at the City’s two off-leash dog parks and portable restrooms will soon return to several locations. Park shelters are not being rented or serviced, but may be used by small groups that maintain adequate social distancing.

For all Iowa City COVID-19 news, updates and resources, visit our web page at icgov.org/Coronavirus.


Governor opens playgrounds; allows sporting gatherings with restrictions

COVID-19 artwork

The Governor has ordered that outdoor performance venues, bowling alleys, and more may reopen, with restrictions, in Iowa City and Johnson County starting Monday, June 1, 2020. The latest order also allows for recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people if public health measures are implemented. 

Businesses and facilities are required to follow specific guidelines in order to reopen. 

Facilities allowed to reopen on June 1 include: 

  • Outdoor performance venues
  • Casinos
  • Bowling alleys
  • Amusement parks
  • Skating rinks and skating parks
  • Outdoor playgrounds 

Those that are reopen must follow specific guidelines, including limiting the number of patrons inside, and maintaining social distance of six feet. To read the full order, visit the Governor's website

The order also permits social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people if public health measures are implemented, including limiting attendance to 50% of the venue capacity and maintaining six feet of distance between those attending.

This also allows practices, games, and competitions for youth and adult baseball, softball, and individual sports such as running, biking, swimming, tennis, and golf to resume with appropriate public health measures in place.

Iowa City Parks and Recreation updates 

Iowa City Parks and Recreation will reopen playgrounds and Terrel Mill Skate Park on June 1. Signage at the parks will be updated. Basketball courts will also reopen on June 1. 

Registration for new summer recreation sports skills programs will begin online on June 1 as well. Those interested can register online.

City staff are in discussions with the Iowa City Community School District and youth sports associations to determine opening plans for athletic fields. 

  • Weekly Party in the Park events will begin on Thursday, June 18 with an event at Riverfront Crossings Park. 
  • Registration is open for a summer child care camp which will begin on June 15 at Mercer/Scanlon Recreation Center. Find more information online.
  • Individual sports like running, biking, swimming, and tennis, will be allowed, though dates for reopening the City's indoor pools have yet to be determined. City Park Pool will remain closed through the 2020 season. Splash pads also remain closed. 

Bathrooms and drinking fountains at all parks will remain closed. Water will be turned on at the City’s two off-leash dog parks and portable restrooms will soon return to several locations. Park shelters are not being rented or serviced, but may be used by small groups that maintain adequate social distancing. 

Any questions about Parks and Recreation openings or facilities can be directed to Juli Seydell-Johnson, Director, at Juli-SJohnson@iowa-city.org, or 319-356-5104. 

As with previous orders, businesses are not mandated to reopen to the public by this date. Before visiting, be sure to verify that the establishment is open to customers, or if they are maintaining takeout services or operating with delivery services only. 

For all Iowa City COVID-19 news updates and resources, visit icgov.org/Coronavirus.


Traffic Alert - Rochester Avenue

IOWA CITY -- Iowa CityWeather permitting, beginning on Monday, June 1, 2020, eastbound Rochester Avenue will be closed to traffic from First Avenue to Post Road to facilitate street pavement repair work in the area.  Westbound Rochester Avenue will remain open to traffic.  It is anticipated that Rochester Avenue will re-open to normal traffic by Wednesday, June 3rd.

Motorists are to take note of this construction and to seek another route during this time period.  As always, caution should be exercised when traveling through all construction areas.

For updated information on road construction in Iowa City, visit www.icgov.org/travelalerts


North Dodge route to detour due to closure of Rochester Avenue effective Monday, June 1

IOWA CITY -- Iowa CityThe North Dodge bus route will detour due to the closure of Rochester Avenue east of 1st Avenue.

The North Dodge outbound route will detour using 1st Avenue to Tudor Drive, to Post Road, to return to regular route on Rochester Avenue. The inbound route will not be affected.

Bus stops located at Rochester and 1st Avenue (#7420) and Rochester and Post Road (#7422) will not be serviced while the closure is in effect.

Normal service is expected to resume effective Monday, June 8, 2020.


Iowa among schools planning to play in front of all fans this season

Iowa HawkeyesIowa and other universities are still hoping to play football at full stadiums this fall.

Athletic director Gary Barta said Thursday that Iowa is planning to have unrestricted crowds at Kinnick Stadium, where last fall it averaged 65,557 for games, 20th in the FBS. Iowa also is modeling for reduced-capacity crowds, depending on guidelines from the state, the CDC and other agencies relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

via www.espn.com