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It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Cedar Rapids, IA

Home Care Cedar Rapids, IA

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, completing daily tasks like showering and enjoying activities such as visiting the historic Ushers Ferry Historic Village gets harder without someone by their side. Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Cedar Rapids, IA is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Cedar Rapids, IA

location Service Areas

The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“Always best care provided excellent caregivers to us. I am really happy with the care and support they provided to my father. Highly recommended to all!”

James T.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Always Best care for all the support your caregivers have provided to my mother. She was very pleased with the care she received. I confidently recommend Always Best Care to all.”

Michael H.

“Always Best Care in Cedar Valley IA realy helps me a lot. They have Reliable Caregivers who helped me to take care of my loved one for several years. They are highly trained and managed well the daily routines and activities like bathing and dressing. Caregivers of always best care is dependable and passionate to their work. I am satisfied and so glad that I chose their service. Highly recommend whoever needs their caregiving service!”

Melanie S.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Cedar Rapids, IA?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Cedar Rapids, IA

Types of Elderly Care in Cedar Rapids, IA

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Cedar Rapids, IA
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Cedar Rapids, IA
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite local activities, such as visiting Morgan Creek Park with friends while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Cedar Rapids, IA
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. So, if you've always wanted to eat at the local Cobble Hill or visit Brucemore, don't feel bad. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Cedar Rapids, IA

Benefits of Home Care in Cedar Rapids, IA

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Cedar Rapids, IA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Cedar Rapids, IA

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your IA's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Cedar Rapids, IA

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Cedar Rapids, IA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Cedar Rapids, IA

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Cedar Rapids, IA

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Some of the most popular assisted living communities to consider in our area include the following:

  • The Views of Cedar Rapids
  • RidgeView Assisted Living
  • The Views of Cedar Rapids
  • MeadowView Memory Care
  • Corridor Crossing Place
  • Garnett Place
Home Care Cedar Rapids, IA

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Cedar Rapids, IA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Cedar Rapids, IA 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Cedar Rapids, IA

Latest News in Cedar Rapids, IA

Cedar Rapids, Iowa City Restaurant Week release menu specials

CEDAR RAPIDS — Restaurant Week for Cedar Rapids and Iowa City kick off soon, but you don’t have to wait until it starts to tease your appetite.Menus for both ends of the Corridor — each lasting 10 days — are now available.Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week, organized by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, will kick off this year with the Fork & Knife Feast, which returns for the first time since 2020. The event, scheduled for Feb. 15, will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at EPIC Event Center on 2987 Epic Dr....

CEDAR RAPIDS — Restaurant Week for Cedar Rapids and Iowa City kick off soon, but you don’t have to wait until it starts to tease your appetite.

Menus for both ends of the Corridor — each lasting 10 days — are now available.

Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week, organized by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, will kick off this year with the Fork & Knife Feast, which returns for the first time since 2020. The event, scheduled for Feb. 15, will run from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at EPIC Event Center on 2987 Epic Dr. in Marion. Tickets, available for $75 at, include unlimited food and drink samples.

From Feb. 16 to 25, foodies can order full-size plates of their favorite samples at participating locations throughout Cedar Rapids and Marion. This year’s lineup of 19 restaurants includes four new to restaurant week:

For specials and pricing of each location for Restaurant Week, visit

For a chance at a Restaurant Week gift basket, pick up a Restaurant Week punch card at any participating restaurant and collect stamps by spending at least $20 on food or buying a specialty menu item. Those with at least five stamps can mail their cards or hand deliver them to 501 First St. SE to be entered into a drawing.

The Gazette is a media sponsor of Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week.

In Johnson County, Think Iowa City Restaurant Week returns with 22 participating restaurants over a longer period than last year — Feb. 17 to 26. The majority of restaurants featured this year were not on last year’s roster:

For a full list of menu specials, visit

During its restaurant week, Think Iowa City encourages the public to combat hunger for all during its monthlong food drive benefiting North Liberty Community Pantry, CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, and Coralville Community Food Pantry.

Pantries are in need of: canned fruit, rice, cereal, pasta, soups, peanut butter, canned meats, canned vegetables and non-perishable items. Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Feb. 29 at Think Iowa City, 900 First Ave. in Coralville.

Comments: Features reporter Elijah Decious can be reached at (319) 398-8340 or [email protected].

Unnamed company looks to build $576 million data center in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS — An unnamed company is seeking city and state financial incentives to build a massive $576 million data center in the Big Cedar Industrial Center that would create at least 31 new high-paying jobs.In the coming weeks, the Cedar Rapids City Council is slated to consider a development agreement with Heaviside LLC for the project to build one or more data centers along 76th Avenue SW and Edgewood Road SW in the Big Cedar Industrial Center.While Heaviside is named, the company that will occupy the development is...

CEDAR RAPIDS — An unnamed company is seeking city and state financial incentives to build a massive $576 million data center in the Big Cedar Industrial Center that would create at least 31 new high-paying jobs.

In the coming weeks, the Cedar Rapids City Council is slated to consider a development agreement with Heaviside LLC for the project to build one or more data centers along 76th Avenue SW and Edgewood Road SW in the Big Cedar Industrial Center.

While Heaviside is named, the company that will occupy the development is not.

The city in recent years has awarded incentives to build massive warehouses and other buildings in the rapidly growing southwest quadrant, including Kitchen appliance company SubZero’s $140.6 million light manufacturing building, FedEx’s new $108.6 million distribution center and BAE Systems’ $139 million classified defense aerospace facility that employs 800.

But the data center project, if approved, could surpass even those major investments and would be among the largest — if not the largest — economic development project in Cedar Rapids history.

The proposed development would create 31 new full-time employees paid at or above the high-quality wage rate. Construction is anticipated to start within three years of the development agreement taking effect

An 890-acre certified portion of the overall Big Cedar site is Iowa's first mega site, which offers hundreds of acres of development-ready land to potential developers. All 1,391 acres are controlled by Alliant Energy.


Under the terms outlined in council documents, the company could receive a 20-year, 70 percent tax exemption so long as it meets employment thresholds and the high-quality job application is approved. The earliest Iowa Economic Development Authority board meeting where that would be considered is March 15.

If it’s not approved, according to council documents, “the city agrees to work in good faith to provide comparable Tax Increment Financing (TIF) rebates in lieu of the tax exemption.”

To attract the massive data centers that have invested billions in Iowa from tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, the Iowa Economic Development Authority pitches Iowa on its website as having “affordable and ample wind energy, a stable grid, a high density of telecommunications infrastructure and low costs for construction projects.”

Other financial incentives include:

The council in August rezoned the land west of Edgewood Road SW and north of 76th Avenue SW from light industrial and agriculture to general industrial, as requested by Alliant, seemingly paving the way for this project.

Another project?

Another project could be in the works there after the council in January rezoned a large portion of Big Cedar to accommodate intensive industrial users. A 245-acre parcel on the western side of the site — north of 76th Avenue SW and west of Tissel Hollow Road SW — was rezoned from agricultural district to general industrial district.

Comments: (319) 398-8494; [email protected]

6 Reasons to Move to Cedar Rapids, IA

Looking for a new place to call home? Here's why you should consider relocating to this Midwestern gem in Iowa.Located in Eastern Iowa on the Cedar River, the warm and welcoming community of Cedar Rapids offers endless outdoor recreation opportunities, a thriving craft beer, wine and spirits scene, and plenty of options to further your education. Though it is the second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids maintains its small community feel. Here are si...

Looking for a new place to call home? Here's why you should consider relocating to this Midwestern gem in Iowa.

Located in Eastern Iowa on the Cedar River, the warm and welcoming community of Cedar Rapids offers endless outdoor recreation opportunities, a thriving craft beer, wine and spirits scene, and plenty of options to further your education. Though it is the second-largest city in Iowa, Cedar Rapids maintains its small community feel. Here are six reasons why it may be the right time to make a move to Cedar Rapids.

In This Article

1. You Can Afford to Live Here

The city has a typical home price of $180,900 (Zillow, November 2023). If you move to Cedar Rapids, you’ll enjoy great quality of life amenities include museums, two main theaters, 74 parks, four golf courses, six public swimming pools, two major hospitals and Eastern Iowa Airport. Other advantages include top-notch schools, a vibrants arts scene and a pro-business government.

Affordable Places to Live

The Cost of Living Diaries: Cedar Rapids, IA

Get the inside scoop on what it’s like to be a local in Cedar Rapids.

2. You Can Collaborate Here

Cedar Rapids deploys forward-thinking initiatives when it comes to issues like sustainability. The City of Cedar Rapids’ Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) was approved in fall 2021, fulfilling the goals of the City Council’s Climate Resolution to reduce greenhouse gases, build resilience to climate hazards and support access to basic needs for all residents. Cedar Rapids has committed to becoming a carbon-free community where residents can meet their basic needs within a 15-minute radius by using means such as walking, biking and low-emissions public transit. The city also has committed to ensuring residents have access to green space, healthy food, clean air and water, and being a place where neighbors help each other with community resources.

3. Score a Top-Notch Education

The region is home to award-winning colleges and universities including the University of Iowa, Mount Mercy University, Cornell College, Upper Iowa University-Cedar Rapids, Coe College and Kirkwood Community College. Whether taking courses for a certification, getting a bachelor’s degree or going for a master’s degree, Cedar Rapids has numerous options to choose from.

Experiences & Adventures

Ready to Travel? Book a Flight from Cedar Rapids, IA

The new and improved Eastern Iowa Airport offers nonstop flights to nearly two dozen destinations.

4. Be in the Middle of it All

Cedar Rapids is in a prime location in the center of it all and is within driving distance to several metros, including Minneapolis, Kansas City, Chicago, Omaha, Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Eastern Iowa Airport offers direct flights to great places such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando and Phoenix.

Experiences & Adventures

Immerse Yourself in the Vibrant Cedar Rapids Arts Scene

Residents don’t have to venture far for live entertainment, art attractions and immersive history in Cedar Rapids.

5. Sip Your Way Through the City

The craft beverage scene in Cedar Rapids is thriving. Breweries like Iowa Brewing, Lion Bridge Brewing and Quarter Barrel are community hubs with events, games and live music. Another brewery, Big Grove Brewery, recently joined the ranks, and just outside of town, residents can also enjoy Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery and Millstream Brewing Co.

6. Explore an Outdoor Oasis

A move to Cedar Rapids means you’ll be surrounded by great outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, cycling, and activities on the water, too. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the area. Favorite spots include Indian Creek Nature Center, which also offers indoor and outdoor interactive nature exhibits, and the paved 12.6-mile Cedar River Trail, which is popular for people on wheels. Several great parks are right in the city’s backyard, including Rock Island Botanical State Preserve, Palisades-Kepler State Park and Seminole Valley Park. Cedar Rapids also offers a unique vista from the top of Mount Trashmore, a landfill turned recreation area.

University of Iowa to close centers in Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities

‘Offering both in-person and online has become an inefficient use of resources’Vanessa Miller IOWA CITY — In an effort to save money and better allocate resources, the University of Iowa is planning to close several off-campus centers — including the Tippie College of Business Cedar Rapids Learning Center on downtown’s Second Avenue SE.The UI request to close that center — along with its Birchwood ...

‘Offering both in-person and online has become an inefficient use of resources’

Vanessa Miller

IOWA CITY — In an effort to save money and better allocate resources, the University of Iowa is planning to close several off-campus centers — including the Tippie College of Business Cedar Rapids Learning Center on downtown’s Second Avenue SE.

The UI request to close that center — along with its Birchwood Learning Center in Davenport and its Scott Community College Learning Center in Bettendorf — will go before the Board of Regents for approval next week.

“Working professional students are overwhelmingly selecting online courses for their flexibility,” according to the request to close the Birchwood center — which houses space for the Professional Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Business Analytics programs. “Offering both in-person and online has become an inefficient use of resources.”

UI officials gave the same reasons for wanting to close the Scott Community College center and the Tippie center in Cedar Rapids, where last year 101 students enrolled in the professional MBA program and 37 enrolled in the MSBA program.

The university did not immediately say how many of the 101 Cedar Rapids professional MBA students in 2023 — the highest enrollment since at least 2019 — were taking courses in person and how many were online only. It also did not immediately share specifics about the 37 students enrolled in the Cedar Rapids-based MSBA program.

“Current MBA and MSBA students in the TCOB Cedar Rapids Learning Center will be able to complete coursework through online offerings at the pace of their choosing and with more flexibility,” according to the UI request, which will take effect at the end of the current semester if approved by the board.

“There will be cost savings from no longer leasing space in Cedar Rapids,” UI officials reported. “Additionally, faculty resources can be focused on delivering the online program versus teaching courses at multiple in-person sites as well as online courses.”

The Birchwood Learning Center closure, like the one in Cedar Rapids, will affect UI professional MBA and MSBA in-person offerings, in that the location was used to offer those courses on the eastern side of the state.

But, unlike in Cedar Rapids, that location had seen enrollment drop from a total of 87 in 2020 to 13 total in 2022.

“Given the number of students applying to the Birchwood Center was so low that it would not be feasible to offer courses at that site, beginning in summer 2022 students applying to Birchwood were offered the option of moving to an online learning center.”

Scott Community closure

The university’s planned closure of its Scott Community College Learning Center will affect master of social work students — having opened about 50 years ago to serve the educational needs of students in the region.

“At that time, UI was the only (master of social work) program serving Iowa, and the demand for qualified social workers necessitated the opening of this educational center,” according to the request for closure.

The program originally was organized through the Quad Cities Graduate Study Center, a consortium of 10 universities, which eventually closed — prompting the UI to move its social work center to Scott Community College.

Enrollment at Scott Community was effected by two changes: closure of Marycrest University’s bachelor in social work program — a feeder for the UI master’s program at Scott — and the debut of St. Ambrose University’s master of social work degree, upping competition for students and practicum sites, according to the UI.

In its last recruitment push for the Scott Community program in spring 2021, the UI netted 10 applicants — all of whom were admitted, but eight took the online program. No students have been physically enrolled at the Scott Community College Learning Center since 2019.

“There has been a decrease in applications to the learning center, while at the same time, the program is expanding the online (master of social work) program due to increased demand,” according to the university. “It is anticipated prospects in the region of Scott Community College will apply to the online program.”

The UI master of social work program remains available at its main Iowa City campus, with 60 enrolled; the John and Mary Pappajohn Education Learning Center in Des Moines, with 79 enrolled; and through the UI online program, with 44 enrolled.

UI officials did not immediately disclose how much it has been paying to lease the spaces and how much the program closures could save. But they reported faculty resources would be better spent and students would be better served.

“This should remove barriers as it increases accessibility and convenience. No impact is expected on the Iowa workforce.”

Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; [email protected]

Pickle Palace brings three floors of dining, recreation to new Cedar Rapids centerpiece

From fried pickles to pickleball, there’s something for everyoneElijah Decious CEDAR RAPIDS — With multiple concepts over 37,000 square feet for dining, drinking, recreation and relaxation, Cedar Rapids’ newest opening is a pretty big dill.Pickle Palace, the second opening in the city’s $81.5 million, mixed-used development dubbed Kingston Yard, makes an understatement of the latter word with something for eve...

From fried pickles to pickleball, there’s something for everyone

Elijah Decious

CEDAR RAPIDS — With multiple concepts over 37,000 square feet for dining, drinking, recreation and relaxation, Cedar Rapids’ newest opening is a pretty big dill.

Pickle Palace, the second opening in the city’s $81.5 million, mixed-used development dubbed Kingston Yard, makes an understatement of the latter word with something for everyone.

Its three floors encompass a casual sit-down restaurant and bar, indoor and outdoor pickleball court with a towering 30-foot ceiling, a British-themed pub, near wraparound rooftop patio, duckpin bowling and private event space.

“We wanted to create a place where people don’t want to leave,” said Graig Cone, co-owner of the new concept, in addition to other notables around the area like Black Sheep Social Club and Lucky Penny. “We wanted a place where everyone feels welcome, whether they’re wearing sweaty bike clothes or a suit and tie.”

The enormous complex has ample opportunities to wear both.

If you go

What: Pickle Palace

Where: 101 First Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids

When: Hours vary between restaurant, pickleball court and third floor; visit website or call for details.

Phone: (319) 582-4780


Details: Restaurant entrees average $15

The first floor restaurant and bar

With ample seating, warehouse ceilings and oversized booths, the building’s primary restaurant on the ground floor marries earth tones with quasi-casual vibes in an aesthetic that diners will recognize as similar to Black Sheep, a flagship holding in the group’s portfolio.

A hexagonal floor tile scheme flows seamlessly into the bar’s teal backsplash, drawing eyes to the marble counters centering the brick perimeter. Warm lighting and a wood divider between sections brings intimacy to a large space that could easily feel cold, and a small number of leather booths can fit large parties with ease.

At the bar, former Rodina bartender Josh O’Connell has set the tone with niche cocktails without an air of pretension. Miss Frizzle, for example, combines prosecco with Seville Orange, grapefruit and rosemary. For the adventurous, the Double Dog Dare Old Fashion combines a 12-year luxury scotch with bourbon, luxardo cherry, Jagermeister and Malort into a surprisingly smooth profile.

“I wanted to make it that spot that, if you want a good cocktail, you can do it,” he said. “A destination in and of its own right.”

And for those with a taste for drinks from the now closed gem of the Czech Village, the bar manager said staff shouldn’t have any trouble satisfying more complex styles.

Other drinks, while perhaps more intimidating, offer attuned flavors that are hard to find in many bars, like the Jungle Bird with Blackstrap rum, pineapple and Campari.

The wine list offers glass pours and bottles from a robust list, and 20 taps pair well with a well-edited selection of fried appetizers.

At first glance, the food menu gives a simple impression with basic names for hearty dishes — hush puppies, fried cheese, crispy chicken sandwiches, chopped brisket. But the devil is in the details, where dishes sell themselves with elevated ingredients and an attention to small tweaks that make simplicity shine.

Even then, a sense of humility comes through on paper, where ingredients undersold the visible, positive first impressions customers had on the restaurant’s soft opening weekend. Fried cheese was moist and creamy inside the crisp square shells, dipping sauces had pronounced accents, and grain bowls like the Green Goddess proved that healthy and delicious can form a trifecta with Instagram-worthy plating.

For those hoping to steer clear of heavy foods ahead of a pickleball game, soups and salads as well as grain bowls complement sandwiches and fried options.

The menu, designed by executive chef Alex O’Connell with input from Iowa’s 2023 Chef of the Year Monkut Sayasit at Black Sheep Social Club, delivers approachability that can be dressed up as a pregame to the building’s third-floor pub, or dressed down before a game of pickleball.

“These two are the dream team,” general manager Steph Mehmen said of the two unrelated O’Connells, who previously had a big hand in the food and bar menu at Black Sheep.


Surrounded by colorful murals designed by Des Moines artist Maddy Fusco that bring muted concrete to life, the building’s namesake offers four indoor and two outdoor courts to play pickleball — a lighter, less intense version of tennis.

As America’s fastest growing sport, co-owner Graig Cone said the sport, like duckpin bowling on the third floor, has a broad appeal that transcends age.

“You can have three competitive generations on the court,” Cone said, with urethane flooring that’s easy on the joints and games that can be done in under an hour.

Mornings will feature adults-only drop-in hours for just $5, and those wanting to get more serious will be able to join leagues with certified instructors. Other hours through the week require players under 16 to be accompanied by adults over 21.

Equipment can be purchased, rented or brought from home. And if you happen to break a sweat before heading off to another activity, two shower rooms are available.

With play starting at $30 per hour on weekdays, players can book time on the court up to two weeks in advance. Seasonally, outdoor courts will be available for $10 per hour. Unlike the dining room, reservations will be required.

Speaking of dining, players can remotely order food and beverages from the next-door restaurant to enjoy on courtside tables.

Members of Pickle Palace’s VIP program, available for $40 per month, receive one month free with a 12-month commitment. Benefits include booking up to four weeks in advance, one free hour per month, a discount on standard court costs and early access to event and league registration.

Event space

With space for up to 170 people, the second floor is equipped with a full kitchen of its own to serve an event space, and a bar overlooking indoor courts.

A modern ballroom with floor to ceiling windows offers views of the Cedar River separating downtown from Kingston Village.

Mehmen said a demand for quality event space in Cedar Rapids precipitated the second floor’s formation.

British-themed bar, duckpin bowling and rooftop patio

The third floor takes sophistication to a new level with a British theme, massive rooftop patios at key vantage points and six lanes of duckpin bowling — which, like pickleball, is a lighter version of its traditional cousin.

Right off the elevator, a pub begs you to relax with a bounty of Chesterfield couches amid dark wood paneling and framed TVs. Glass garage doors forming the exterior walls begin a countdown until summer, when indoors and outdoors will be one on the third floor.

The patio offers views of the Cedar River and Cedar Rapids skyline as well as downtown icons like the flame atop the Veterans Memorial Building. Fire pits bring warmth to chilly days and nights. On the west side, a view of the new structure taking stage in the center of Kingston Yard will make the other half of the roof a sounding board for nearby district entertainment.

With dog-friendly water fountains, turf and plenty of space, programming in warmer months will include live music, movie nights and yoga.

Bar manager Josh O’Connell said the third floor’s offerings will have 12 taps, up to 17 cocktails such as a cucumber ranch water — a British-esque twist on a popular trend — and a surprise food menu of its own to be revealed in the coming days.

Across from the bar, duckpin bowling under swanky lighting and more Chesterfield lounges delivers an upscale contrast to bowling alleys of decades past. At $40 per hour, lanes are available on a first come, first served basis for up to six players.

Comments: Features reporter Elijah Decious can be reached at (319) 398-8340 or [email protected].


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