This has been a busy week with several progress and recovery milestones. Progress has been made on the new hotel on Highway 218 with the installation of the building sign and the opening of the new West 11th Street. A "soft" opening is scheduled for mid-June now. There are a couple of wedding parties booked at the hotel right after opening and it is sold out for Boomtown in September.
An unsafe building that has been an eyesore on West 4th Street has been demolished by its owner. This is one of several steps to clean up the "entrance" from Highway 218 into the downtown area. Another group of unsafe buildings on the west side Hinkle Creek on 4th Street is now owned by the city. Once some asbestos has been removed, these structures will also be demolished and the area turned into greenspace. This is part of our movement in flood recovery that has taken up a good part of my last two years since the 2008 flood.
Another couple of steps in the flood recovery have been made by our parks and recreation department. They have cleaned out a large residential garage that is next to the Cedar River that was bought out by the city after the flood. The plan is to convert the garage into a ope-air pavilion which is a use that is allowed by the buyout program on this greenspace. The department has also worked with ISU Extension to convert a few other buyout lots on East 2nd Street into community gardens.