---- — CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Cedar Rapids is celebrating the opening of a new downtown library five years after much of the city sustained heavy damage in the 2008 flood.
About 1,000 library users helped cut the ribbon at the building's grand opening Saturday, KWWL reported (http://bit.ly/12BOOM6 ).
The library is part of a building boom in Cedar Rapids that was needed because of the flood damage. A new convention center, federal courthouse and DoubleTree Hotel also have been built. City Hall and the historic Paramount Theatre were renovated.
The new library has a children's section that's bigger than the entire temporary library that had served the city since the flood.
Madeline Drinkwater and Libby Benson are too young to remember the old Cedar Rapids library, but their parents agree that the new site is a big improvement.
"We're going to love it," said Robert Drinkwater, Madeline's dad. "We'll be able to stop by all the time now."
Libby's mom, Jennifer Benson, said she thinks the new library will be a great addition "especially in the winter time when it's cold and we can't go outside."
Federal disaster recovery money paid for about two-thirds of the $46 million library. The rest of the funding came from grants, sales taxes and donations.
"Libraries build strong communities and strong communities then build strong libraries," Library Director Bob Pasicznyuk said. "You've got better educational infrastructure. You've got kids who are prepared for school and life."
Information from: KWWL-TV, http://www.kwwl.com