Cedar Rapids buys abandoned rail corridor in New Bohemia

Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA), 2014-08-13


Aug. 13 -- CEDAR RAPIDS -- An abandoned rail corridor that runs through New Bohemia, behind the NewBo City Market and across the former site of the Sinclair meatpacking plant has been purchased by the city.

The price approved by the City Council on Tuesday: $275,000 .

Rita Rasmussen , the city's real estate service manager, said Tuesday that the city will conduct an environmental assessment on the rail line and anticipates closing on the purchase in late November.

The city will have responsibility for taking up and salvaging the rails, Rasmussen said.

The city is currently seeking redevelopment proposals for the former Iowa Iron Works site, which is bordered by the rail line and 12th Avenue SW . City officials envision that removing the rail line will allow for additional parking to serve any new development as well as the NewBo City Market.

Dale Todd , president of the New Bohemia property-owners group Southside Investment Board, said Tuesday the board identified the need to remove the rail line in its Master Plan of 2012.

Todd said removal of the rail line will enhance safety in New Bohemia, improve access to the market and help beautify the area.

The city is buying part of the rail corridor, from south of Ninth Avenue SE to south of 12th Avenue SE , from Union Pacific Railroad and another part, from 12th Avenue SE to the Cedar River , from Midwestern Railroad Properties Inc. , a Union Pacific Railroad subsidiary, according to the city. Also included is a strip of property north of 12th Avenue SE .

Also on Tuesday, the City Council approved a contract to replace 11th Avenue SE between Third and Fourth streets SE in New Bohemia. The contract price is $168,637 .

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