Recreational improvements proposed for the Cedar River in Cedar Falls will be presented at a public informational meeting being held tonight (Tuesday, June 21, 2016).

City officials and consultants will be seeking input from the community on the project. They will present conceptual plans to the public on a proposed whitewater and kayaking course that would be developed near the Ice House Museum.

The meeting is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Island Park Boat House. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. City officials are encouraging everyone to attend.

According to City Planner David Sturch, there are two areas of focus within the proposed project. One is a small dam near Gateway Park and the other is the Center Street dam behind the Ice House Museum.

Referring to the Gateway Park Dam, Sturch said: "There are remnants of a knee wall or 'beauty dam' in the river that need to be repaired and cleaned up, with options to modify the structure for kayakers. Some safety issues include removing old rebar steel in the concrete and modifying some scour holes."

Sturch said options for the Center Street dam may include opportunities for kayak users, paddle boarders, tubers, and canoers to use the river. The possibility of adding wave pools, portages, and a viewing terrace is also being considered.

"The purpose of the open house is to develop support on one or two of these options for study," Sturch said. "The consultant will provide planning level costs, but there are still unknowns that will be studied and developed for a refined cost estimate on the prefered alternative(s)."

The Cedar Falls city council plans to evaluate comments from tonight's public meeting and provide direction to the consultants in order to proceed with the preliminary design and investigate funding opportunities through state and federal sources. Actual construction on the project wouldn't begin until the summer of 2017 at the earliest, Sturch said.

Elected city leaders are expected to vote on the project next month. If approved, Sturch said the consultant will complete the preliminary design and develop cost estimates for funding opportunities.

Updates on the project would be presented to the City Council later this year. The council, then, will make the decision on whether to move forward with final design and development.

According to Sturch, the proposed improvements presented at tonight's meeting are ideas that were brought to city officials by the public during an earlier meeting held in April.