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This story is a part of the CBJ’s Newsmakers edition. This year-end wrap-up from the staff of the Corridor Business Journal is a compilation of the year’s most noteworthy articles and projects, as told through stories that appeared in the bi-weekly issues of the CBJ. This story was originally published in Aug. 2022.
True to its historical mission, the African American Museum of Iowa is in the process of transforming a potential operational obstacle into a $6 million fundraising campaign to fuel change and growth. AAMI Executive Director LaNisha Cassell said the museum, which was founded in 1993 and bounced between several temporary locations before completing a permanent facility in 2003 at 55 12th Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids, was notified by city officials that a planned flood wall and gate was going to cut through the museum’s parking lot and impact other aspects of museum operations, including the facility’s front entrance. “We’d been meeting with them for about two and a half years, and we were talking about how we could mitigate the impact,” Ms. Cassell said. After conducting an assessment of the flood protection system’s impact on the museum, the city offered $340,000 to address the issues. Ms. Cassell said she counter-offered $1.5 million, and a compromise of $1.07 million was approved by the city council in December 2021. That settlement served as the foundation for museum officials to pursue a larger project to address several museum needs, she said.