The Cedar Rapids Downtown Vision Plan online survey was developed to help identify priorities and improvements for Downtown Cedar Rapids over the next five years in order to inform the 2023 Vision Plan Update. The survey ran from April 24th to May 29th, 2023, and collected 1,414 responses. The analysis presents a summary of key findings, followed by a more detailed question-by-question summary of results and cross-tabulation analysis.
Downtown Cedar Rapids Today
- Respondents were asked how often they visited Downtown Cedar Rapids. Those employed or owning businesses Downtown reported visiting five or more days a week. Greater Cedar Rapids residents and employees outside of Downtown most commonly visited Downtown once or twice a week. Those identifying as tourists or visitors reported visiting Downtown approximately twice a month, or at least several times a year.
- When asked to select the top three things that brought them to Downtown Cedar Rapids (aside from work), respondents overwhelmingly reported visiting restaurants/bars (70%). This was followed by events and festivals (58%) and entertainment (41%).
Downtown Cedar Rapids Tomorrow
- The most common words respondents used to describe their vision for Downtown Cedar Rapids in the future were safe, clean, entertaining, fun, lively, and vibrant.
- When asked to rate the importance of ten possible projects for the future of Downtown, Redevelop and repurpose underutilized surface parking lots and vacant buildings and lots received overwhelming support, with 86% of respondents rating this as “Important” or “Very Important.” Closely following in support was Embrace the Cedar River in the physical environment. Respondents placed further emphasis on projects related to connectivity and beautification.
- When asked to choose just one physical improvement as MOST important, Embrace the Cedar River in the physical environment emerged as the clear leader. The following two most important improvements were, in order, Redevelop/repurpose underutilized surface parking lots and vacant buildings and lots and Improve the parking experience.
- When asked to rate the importance of eight services or programs for Downtown Cedar Rapids in the future, all were rated as important to some degree. Continue diversifying restaurant and bar offerings emerged as the most highly valued service or program, with 77% rating it as “Important” or “Very Important.” Provide more services to address the unhoused population and Make Downtown more welcoming and inclusive to people of all cultural backgrounds had the second and third highest rankings of “Important” and “Very Important.”
- When asked to choose just one service or program as most important, respondents chose Continue diversifying restaurant and bar offerings and Provide more services to address the unhoused population at equal rates (19%). None of the remaining services or program were chosen by more than 11% of respondents.
- Respondents were also given the chance to provide additional ideas for improvements to Downtown Cedar Rapids in an open-ended format. Ideas and common themes among responses included:
- Increased bus or circulator/trolley access around Downtown
- More housing attainable to middle-income households
- Enhanced urban design and streetscapes
- More events Downtown
- Amenities/destinations for teens and seniors
- A dog park
- Enhance/improve the skywalk system
- Lastly, respondents were asked about their interest in living Downtown and the type of housing they would prefer. 60% of respondents indicated interest in living Downtown, with the greatest interest in ownership options in condominiums and townhouses.
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