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A Big Year for Cedar Rapids – 2013 in Review [LISTS]

CR 20132013 was an exciting year for Cedar Rapids.  From new buildings and projects, to major sports successes, amazing concerts and events, and so much more, it will definitely go down in the books as a biggie for the city.  We take a look back at the Top 10 stories of the year. (in no particular order)

  1. Casino Coming to Cedar Rapids: This had to be one of the biggest stories of the year as everyone was buzzing about the pros and cons, as the approval came to a vote, and eventually passed, though the fate was still undetermined per the state. We saw the grounds being cleared and the sketches of the building, and as the new year rings in, all we can do is wait.

  2. The U.S. Cellular Center / Doubletree Convention Complex Open:  We’d been waiting for this moment for quite some time.  Not only did it mean the end of crazy construction/traffic patterns downtown, but it almost meant some big concerts were able to come back to town.  While the Lady Antebellum kick-off was big, perhaps more shocking was the near instant sell-out of the Florida-Georgia Line show, giving the Center a new record for sell-outs.  Many of us were very excited to check out the new renovations, not just to the arena, but to the hotel/convention complex, including the rooftop restaurant.

  3. A Year of concerts Parties:  The year kicked off with plenty off buzz around town about reality star and DJ Pauly D coming to the area.  Plenty of fun seekers were in attendance for the unforgettable party just outside town in early February.  The year then ended with another major party, as GoDaddy brought Snoop Dogg to town their employee Christmas Party.  Although it was a private show, plenty were buzzing about it around town.
  4. Downtown Public Facilities Open: Since the flood, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of the Library and the GTC.  2013 was the year we finally saw that happen, and the new spaces are impressive.  We also saw the new Central Fire Station open it’s doors, and got another entertainment venue with the addition of the McGrath Pavilion, kicked off with the fun new Annual Baconfest event.  We look forward to see how this venue is utilized, and by who, in 2014.  Unfortunately, we did also say goodbye to some classic buildings, including the A&W.

  6. Flooding of the Cedar River:  There’s was plenty of tension around town midyear, as the Cedar River started rising.  The scary part, was it was almost to the day of the 2008 floods.  And as the waters rose, the comparisons continued to come in.  However, due to a faulty gauge upstream, projection were overestimated, and major disaster was avoided in town (however some surrounding areas weren’t quite as lucky).  However, the flood was followed by a very hot and dry summer, causing a drastic drought.

  8. Cyclospora Outbreak:  Fear struck across the city as many were suddenly becoming sick, and it was discovered there was a cyclospora outbreak.  It seemed like forever for the discovery of what was causing the outbreak.  Thankfully, it was eventually contained and resolved, though many were still cautious about eating their greens for quite a few weeks.
  9. An Impressive Year in Sports: Sports fans around town had plenty to be excited about this year.  The Kernels became an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, and had an electrifying season, with the second most wins in team history, primarily led by the very talented Byron Buxton.  In just their second year, the Titans also had an impressive season, as they made it all the way to the conference finals.  And you have to give it up for Xavier High School athletics, taking home State Titles in Boys and Girls Soccer and Girls Basketball, while the Boys Football team also made it to the State Finals.
  10. Retail Changes: There was plenty of talk throughout the year of the major reconstruction and renovation of Westdale Mall.  And after many delays, plans were finally approved and unveiled.  While groundbreaking will not happen until next year, it’ll be excited to watch the transformation.  Not to be outdone, Lindale Mall did undergo a facelift and expansion.

  12. Highway 100 Expansion:  Another project that will not happen until at least next year, approval did happen this year for the long awaited expansion of Highway 100.  It’ll be interesting to see how this effects our travel in coming years.
    Pay It Forward Logo
  13. Cedar Rapids “Pays it Forward”:  Local radio stations, including this one,  spent the summer partnered with Dupaco Community Credit Union giving away over $10,000 to random residents in a general act of good will, surprising residents at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, the downtown Farmers Market, NewBo and more.  All they asked was the recipient do the same for someone else.  It was truly a feel good summer.

What’d we miss?

What were some of your most memorable moments of 2013?

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