Events/Announcements Feed

Join us for a book discussion of “On Juneteenth”

JuneteenthIn honor of Juneteenth, the Johnson County Juneteenth Planning Committee invite you to participate in a book discussion featuring “On Juneteenth” by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Texas native Annette Gordon-Reed.

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, "On Juneteenth" provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. Read more here.

How to participate

A virtual (Zoom) discussion of the book will be held from 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The discussion will be facilitated by Abena Sankofa Imhotep, Director of Sankofa Literary and Empowerment Group of Des Moines. 

Complimentary copies of the book are available to the first 20 people to sign up. 


ID: 958 1441 1906


If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact Equity Director Stefanie Bowers at 319-356-5022 or Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

In-person Iowa City Farmers Market begins Saturday, May 1 at Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp

New public art is shown at the Chauncey Swan Parking ramp in Iowa City.

With flowers and trees blooming throughout town, it's time for a City spring tradition to begin: the Iowa City Farmers Market!

The in-person Farmers Market begins Saturday, May 1, 2021, in the first level of the Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp. Due to the pandemic, all visitors to the market must wear a mask over their mouth and nose while in the ramp. 

Masks are just one of the safety precautions the market is using this year:

  • The number of vendors present has been reduced.
  • The number of people who can be in the ramp will be controlled at both the north and south entrances. All visitors are asked to enter by only the north and south entrances.  
  • Customers should eat or drink all products outside of the parking ramp.

The Iowa City Farmers Market runs from 5-7 p.m. Wednesdays and 7:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays from May through October. 

To get more information about the market, including a map of vendors, visit 

City of Cedar Rapids Earns $7 Million USDA-NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Project Funding Agreement, Will Lead Cedar River Source Water Partnership

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services announced recipients of its 2020-21 Regional Conservation Partnership Project (RCPP) funding on Monday, April 26. The City of Cedar Rapids’ project, entitled Cedar River Source Water Partnership (CRSWP), will receive $7,028,362 in RCPP funding to improve water quality in the Cedar River.

The CRSWP is a collaboration among communities and agricultural partners to improve degraded water quality conditions threatening public and private source water supplies. The project will support on-the-ground conservation practices on farmland and provide direct technical assistance to producers and other agricultural stakeholders. The partnership is a continuation of the City’s efforts working upstream in agricultural areas to improve water quality in the Cedar River. Investment in upstream watershed areas provides direct benefits to the City such as improving drinking water quality and reducing flood flows.

“Cedar Rapids has been recognized nationally for our work to improve water quality,” said Roy Hesemann, utilities director for the City of Cedar Rapids. “With the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, we helped install real water quality improvement practices with demonstrable benefits. The Cedar River Source Water Partnership will take what we learned from that project and scale up our efforts to improve water quality in the Cedar River.”

The City of Cedar Rapids — in close collaboration with the City of Charles City and 10 additional jurisdictional, agricultural and media partners — will lead the CRSWP. The project will link cities in the Cedar River Watershed with vulnerable drinking water supplies to their agricultural neighbors. The project’s overarching goal is to improve water quality and protect source water in the Cedar River Watershed. Other expected project benefits include reduced flood flows to downstream communities and improved fish and wildlife habitat. The project partners will bring an estimated $10,495,078 in match contributions, with an anticipated total project investment of more than $17.5 million. The City of Cedar Rapids anticipates it will provide at least $1,496,000 in matching funds to the partnership, largely in the form of technical support.

The City’s watershed efforts ramped up in 2015 with the launch of the Middle Cedar Partnership Project, also funded through USDA-NRCS with support from multiple agencies and farming organizations. The CRSWP builds off the success of MCPP, expanding into the entire Cedar River Watershed, and launching a new phase of public-private partnerships with Land O’ Lakes Truterra and agricultural retailers including Linn Coop, Heartland Coop, Landus, and IAS.

“We are so proud for this opportunity to continue our work with producers and landowners upstream,” said Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz. “Cedar Rapids has demonstrated experience leveraging RCPP funding to build public-private partnerships and make marked water quality improvements.”

On Monday, NRCS announced it will invest $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships through RCPP. The projects are meant to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnership working at its best,” said Terry Cosby, Acting Chief for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “These new projects will harness the power of partnership to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

With CRSWP, the majority of the USDA-NRCS funds will go directly to producers to implement practices such as cover crops, wetlands, bioreactors and saturated buffers. These farmland conservation practices are proven to significantly reduce nitrate runoff from farm fields. In addition to benefiting the Cedar Rapids drinking water supply, these practices will also help the State of Iowa meet its obligations under the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to reduce nitrate loading to the Mississippi River.

The City of Cedar Rapids Utilities Department will serve as the project lead. The eleven contributing partners are Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Land O’ Lakes Truterra, City of Charles City, Linn County Conservation Board, The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Ingredion Inc, Iowa Future Farmers of America, and iHeart Media / WHO Radio. Additional project partners will be brought on in the coming months to provide targeted education and outreach services.

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Through RCPP, conservation partners work in collaboration with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners throughout the nation to implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats and increase climate resilience. For more information, visit the RCPP website.

Trees Planted at Redmond Park for Arbor Day

Cedar Rapids, IA – The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees in Redmond Park, 1545 3rd Ave SE, with Johnson STEAM Academy students on Friday, April 30. Mayor Brad Hart will read an Arbor Day proclamation at 9:30 a.m., followed by a brief program. Representatives from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Linn County Conservation, ITC and Trees Forever will provide educational information about the benefits of trees and assist with planting. The trees are part of a new park design with some replacing trees lost in the derecho. 

“We are always excited to plant trees in Cedar Rapids, but this year our Arbor Day celebration is even more meaningful. The derecho reminded us how important our tree canopy is and we are committed to restoring it as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Brad Hart.

The City of Cedar Rapids received its 43rd Tree City USA Award in 2021. Cedar Rapids has received this award for more consecutive years than any other city in the state. Cities that demonstrate dedication to the importance of trees in their communities are eligible for this award. It was presented at the Urban Forestry Awards in early April on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation and Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The Department is making other improvements to Redmond Park this summer including resurfacing the splash pad and replacing the old park play equipment with a new playground. A survey to indicate playground equipment preferences is available at

Volunteers Needed: Loud Thunder Forest Preserve Clean-Up

River ActionRiver Action will be leading an Earth Week clean-up event this Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 9 a.m. – noon at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve.

In cooperation with the Rock Island County Forest Preserve District, River Action is organizing an invasive species clean-up event at Loud Thunder Forest Preserve in Illinois City, Ill. from 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday, April 24. Volunteers are needed to maximize impact and help maintain native biodiversity in this important natural area. Volunteers can sign up at or call the River Action office at 563-322-2969.

For more information

Contact River Action at


Iowa City to host virtual open house to present plans for American Legion Road improvements

American Legion road improvements

Changes are coming to American Legion Road, so make sure to attend this virtual open house to learn more about the planned improvements.

The City is hosting a virtual open house from 6-7 p.m. on Monday, April 19, 2021, to present the upcoming American Legion Road Improvements Project. The meeting will take place via Zoom.

A formal presentation will begin at 6 p.m. The contractor, design consultant, and City staff will be available to answer questions following the presentation. 

The project includes the reconstruction of American Legion Road from Scott Boulevard to Taft Avenue. Presenters will discuss the planned improvements, construction phasing, traffic impacts, and the anticipated schedule.

How to participate

Residents interested can participate by joining the Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 922 1043 6352

For more information

Questions about the project can be directed to Assistant City Engineer Scott Sovers at 319-356-5142 or

You can also reach out to Project Manager Aaron Moniza of Foth Infrastructure and Environment at 319-297-2073 or email

Visit the project web page to learn more.


If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact Assistant City Engineer Scott Sovers at 319-356-5142 or Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

Be Prepared for Car Ownership: A Class for Teens and Young Adults

A Virtual Car Ownership Class for Teens and Young Adults

Chaya Milchtein is an automotive educator, freelance writer, and empowerment speaker. At Mechanic Shop Femme, she believes that education is empowerment, and we are all about empowerment and accessibility, offering free and sliding scale comprehensive automotive education for the average consumer, not for DIYers or aficionados. Regular folks like you!

Chaya's entire business is now centered around helping women and members of the LGBTQ community feel empowered to purchase and care for their vehicles.

Often thought of as the “dad’s job,” teaching a teen the fundamentals should be a must before car ownership. This workshop covers topics like warning lights, when to tow a car, how to say no to a mechanic, and more.

Register to get the Zoom link for this event:

Offered by the the public libraries in Coralville, Iowa City, and North Liberty.

City of Cedar Rapids Celebrates Earth Month with Climate Story, Video Series

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – April 12, 2021 — While Earth Day falls on Thursday, April 22nd this year, the City of Cedar Rapids is celebrating all month long by marking April as Earth Month! Throughout the month of April, the City will share its sustainability accomplishments, provide updates on work underway, and encourage the community to pursue sustainability and take climate action.


To kick off Earth Month, City Manager Jeff Pomeranz shared a video message for residents. The video was promoted through the City’s iGreenCR eNewsletter and on social media. The video includes a summary of the iGreenCR Action Plan — the City’s municipal sustainability plan — and updates on the Community Climate Action Plan underway.


In the video, Pomeranz introduced Cedar Rapids’ Climate Story, an interactive, web-based document that details how the City of Cedar Rapids is positioned to achieve goals targeted by its Community Climate Action Plan. The Climate Story also details responses from more than 1,400 residents to a citywide climate survey effort completed last fall.


“We’re very proud of the ongoing work that the members of our community have contributed as we build our Community Climate Action Plan together,” said Pomeranz. “The Community Climate Action Plan will address goals for reduced pollution, increased clean energy, and ensuring residents have access to essential needs, such as healthy food, nature, good-paying jobs and green jobs.”


Pomeranz also encouraged residents to take his 1-Bag Challenge, an effort to remove litter from city streets. More details on the 1-Bag Challenge program can be found at


Residents are encouraged to follow the City’s social media pages all month for weekly video updates with green tips, City resources, and ideas to engage in protecting our environment as the community continues to mark and celebrate Earth Month.