Government Notes: Cedar Rapids City Council to consider awarding more pandemic funds to 3 social ser

Willis Dady Homeless Services may receive a $15,000 city grant to help rehab a property at 1501 Washington Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids. The city council will vote Tuesday on three grants from federal pandemic funds. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Kaitlin Byers speaks at the June 23 EntreFEST 2022 in Iowa City. The new event for Iowa entrepreneurs is receiving $5,000 in a tourism grant to help with the 2023 conference. (NewBoCo)

Three social service nonprofits may be awarded $60,250 in federal COVID-19 relief funds this week by the Cedar Rapids City Council, mostly to support housing projects.

The council will vote at its noon Tuesday meeting to distribute a slice of the city’s $28 million allocation of funds through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

According to the city, the projects are being recommended through the joint ARPA application process the city and Linn County used to award the pandemic funds.

The three projects are in addition to the 20 projects the council in August awarded $3 million.

The first recommended project is $22,750 for a Homeless System Design Assessment.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is proposing to conduct an assessment of the community’s homeless service system.

This assessment will include the city, county and area nonprofit agencies that make up the local Continuum of Care. It will evaluate existing services, recommendations and training.

The second recommended project is $22,500 for sidewalk improvements at The Bridge, 2100 First Ave. NE, where Four Oaks hosts the Life Enrichment Center for older residents, funded in the first round of ARPA allocations.

The sidewalk improvements will help ensure program participants, as well as the general public, can safely access the facility. This building also is a polling place.

The third recommended project is $15,000 toward the rehabilitation of 1501 Washington Ave. SE, which Willis Dady Homeless Services is looking to rehabilitate. The project also will use city Community Development Block Grant funds that were previously allocated.

Two Iowa City tourism grants announced

Two more events have been awarded funds from the Iowa City Tourism Grant program administered by Think Iowa City.

The Iowa City Downtown District’s winter night lights project will receive $30,000, and EntreFEST will receive $5,000.

The tourism grant program launched in September. The program — funded by $125,000 in pandemic relief dollars from the city of Iowa City — is intended to spur economic activity in the city.

The winter lights funding will provide the infrastructure for winter light displays in future years, according to a news release from Think Iowa City.

“The Winter Night Lights is a monthlong attraction (in February) that will activate visitors in the winter, which historically is a lull for travelers,” said Nick Pfeiffer, vice president of public affairs at Think Iowa City.

EntreFEST returns to Iowa City on June 8 and 9. The two-day conference celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation, with about 500 attendees expected.

Both events will need to submit payments and receipts for qualifying expenses to be reimbursed. Up to $30,000 is available for new events and up to $5,000 is available for existing events or initiatives.

Just over $57,000 has been awarded so far. The Refocus Film Festival was awarded $15,000 and ICOR Boxing was awarded $7,500 for upcoming events.

The funds are available through 2026 or until exhausted. Applications are reviewed monthly.

Marion to improve visibility at busy intersections by City Hall, library

In response to increased traffic along the busy Sixth Avenue, Marion is making changes to parking in the area.

A few parking spaces already have been blocked off on the avenue, now the designated truck route through Marion. In total, 12 parking spaces will be removed to improve the sight lines at the 12th and 13th Street intersections.

In January, temporary concrete barricades will be installed to block the stalls being taken out. After that, city staff will evaluate the intersections through winter and spring. If no modifications are needed, the city will change the curb lines to permanently remove the parking stalls.

“As this part of Marion continues to flourish as a hub of activity, we want to carefully balance the need for parking with the need for safe crossings,” City Manager Ryan Waller said.

Coralville creating map of holiday light displays

The city of Coralville is putting together an online map with recommendations of where to see holiday light displays.

Residents are invited to email the address of displays, with an optional description and photos, to

Residents also can message the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts with the information.

All displays, whether they are simple or elaborate, are welcome, the city said in a news release.

The city is taking submissions until Dec. 19 and is updating the map as addresses are submitted.

The map and more information can be found online at

Government Notes is published Mondays and contains updates from area government bodies. Marissa Payne, Gage Miskimen, Izabela Zaluska and Grace King of The Gazette contribute.

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