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Cedar Rapids residents upset by crews cutting down trees on Earth Day



CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Some Cedar Rapids residents of the Rompot area include a state senator and neighbors who formed a non-profit to protect the prairie park corridor.

Their fight to stop the Cargill project is now in the appeals process.

Today, they’re upset that on Earth Day, the project is moving forward –despite pending litigation — and trees were being cut down.

The fight is over a 28-acre flood plain that the city of Cedar Rapids designated as a prairie pollinator zone.

In 2019, the city changed its zoning and started the process to sell the land to Cargill, which plans to build a railyard on the prairie and across the street from residential neighborhoods.

“They’re increasing the amount of soil here,” Jeremiah Kenny, President of Protect the Prairie Park Corridor, “and putting a dirt berm here is going to push water back into these houses that are behind me and further up. It will also push water across the river, so there’s fear of more destruction.”

Last week, the Cedar Rapids City Council unanimously passed several resolutions approving its agreement with Cargill.

Some residents are upset that today, on Earth Day, crews are cutting down trees.

Senator Rob Hogg (D) lives in the Rompot neighborhood.

“It is ironic, horrific awful,” Hogg said.

He is hoping the court will stop the project.

“Cargill can still stop this. The City of Cedar Rapids can still stop this,” Hogg said, “The Department of Natural Resources can still stop this because this project needs a storm water permit from the state. I’m hoping for a miracle that saves this prairie and stops this destruction in our residential neighborhood.”

Today, Kenny and Hogg are hoping for that miracle to intervene, especially after last summer’s derecho already took so many trees.

KWWL reached out to both Cargill and Mayor Brad Hart. They declined an interview for this story.

The city sent a response late in the afternoon confirming that the sale to Cargill has been finalized, adding:

“Council reasons were discussed publicly at meetings on November 7, 19 and December 17, 2019. Videos of those proceedings are available on the City’s website. The Cargill webpage also includes a lot of information, including a FAQ section.”

Cedar Rapids City Council approves rezoning for Cargill railyard