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GCA Grant Helps Restore a Cedar Rapids City Hub


December 10, 2020

Cedar Rapids GC awarded $10,000 Restoration Initiative grant for Brucemore

On August 10, 2020, the city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was devastated by a derecho, which pounded the city with 110 mph sustained winds for nearly forty minutes. Most of the homes and businesses in the area were severely damaged, including Brucemore, a 26-acre estate in the heart of Cedar Rapids that is central to civic activities in the city. The estate’s landscaping bore the brunt of the storm, losing over eighty trees and sustaining damage to the 136-year-old historical home and other structures, including an antique greenhouse. 

Brucemore and its grounds are an important part of cultural, philanthropic, and educational activities in Cedar Rapids. Throughout the year, a number of festivals, concerts, plays, garden programs, and other activities are held there. To help restore the estate’s grounds, the GCA has awarded a $10,000 Restoration Initiative grant to the Cedar Rapids Garden Club (CRGC). The $10,000 grant will be used to restore a section of Brucemore’s gardens. 

CRGC has had a close association with Brucemore for many years. Many of the members live nearby, and the club holds activities there on a regular basis. Brucemore’s executive director has invited CRGC representatives to participate in the restoration planning sessions that will occur over the winter. The process will be complicated as the renovation will incorporate the original O. C. Simonds design from 1907, design adaptations by subsequent owners, as well as the reality of how the estate is used today for the public.  

The current CRGC president stated that club members can’t wait to roll up their sleeves and start working on the part of the garden that they will restore with the GCA grant. The recovery of Cedar Rapids will be years in the making due to the scale of the storm’s devastation, but seeing Brucemore‘s gardens restored will go a long way to getting the city and its citizens back on their feet.

The GCA established the Restoration Initiative in 2017 in response to the urgent needs caused by catastrophic storms, hurricanes, floods, fires, and mudslides to assist member clubs involved in public landscape restoration and conservation projects. Nine grants, totaling $90,000, have been awarded to clubs in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas.



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