The grant will include $35 million for the construction of a downtown events center and $3 million to the chamber of commerce to help pay for a center that will help people open and expand small businesses.
“It will create jobs and at the same time it will boost economic development in an area still struggling to recover from the worst natural disaster in the history of our state,” Sen. Tom Harkin said during a conference call held to announce the grants.
U.S. Rep. David Loebsack represents the city and said he’s been pressing hard for the grant. He said it’s needed to help Cedar Rapids recover from the June 2008 flooding that left hundreds of city blocks under water and caused an estimated $6 billion in damage to the community.
“It’s really about a long-term answer to economic development, not just for Cedar Rapids but for the whole region,” Loebsack said.
The move is the latest round of flood recovery money provided by the Economic Development Administration for the region. Earlier this month, Commerce Secretary Gary Lock announced $30 million in grants to pay for improvements in Iowa City, Columbus Junction and Shenandoah.
The latest grant was announced a day before President Barack Obama arrives in the state for a series of stops in southeast Iowa that will focus on job creation and the economy.
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