Perhaps the single most important challenge facing Cedar Rapidians today is how our city will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating derecho storm that ravaged our city in the summer of 2020. Recovering from these events will be multi-faceted, and will require us to work with businesses, community partners, in addition to the state and federal government.
I am proposing a comprehensive approach to start the process of recovery:
Finish the job of derecho clean-up
Derecho clean-up is far from over. In many neighborhoods, tree debris and rubble remain. Our residents deserve a government that is willing to invest in clean-up efforts until the job is done. Once the clean-up process is complete, our government must ensure that businesses and homeowners are supported as they navigate the process of rebuilding and replacing damaged structures.
Support the recovery of small and mid-size businesses
If our community is to thrive, we must see to it that our economy fully rebounds. We must renew our commitment to workers and businesses, strengthen our partnerships with organizations that support the economic development of our community like the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, and work with our friends in the organized labor community. City government must be prepared to offer the same type of support to small and midsize businesses that large corporations in our community have come to expect.
Empower community organizations to address unmet needs in our city
Our city must maintain and in some cases even increase funding to trusted non-profit organizations in our community that can do the things local government is unable to do when it comes to providing supplemental social and human services. Investments in organizations like Urban Dreams, the LBA Foundation, and in community projects like the Safe, Equitable, and Thriving Communities fund are just a few examples of these partnerships. We can and we must do more.