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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Cedar Rapids is a typically Midwestern agricultural and industrial center, the center of which is built on an island at the “rapids” of the Cedar River. Downtown is modern in appearance, with attractive parks and waterfront areas. Arts and culture amenities are better than average for a small city, with a symphony and an art museum that holds the largest collection of works by native son Grant Wood. There are a couple of small colleges in town and some minor league sports.
The Czech Village provides an interesting slice of cultural diversity. Nightlife and entertainment are somewhat lacking, but can be found in abundance in Iowa City 20 miles south. Some preferring the smaller rural town life and lower costs live here and work in that more prosperous city. The economy is supported by large agricultural producers (ADM, Quaker Oats and Cargill among others) but also a handful of insurance firms, electrical equipment manufacturer Square D, and an assortment of high tech firms along a corridor leading south towards Iowa City. The industrial presence is strong but the recent employment picture is fairly weak. Overall cost of living is attractive.
The area around Cedar Rapids is mainly agricultural, with areas of wooded hills to the south. The climate is humid continental with four distinct seasons and wide variations in temperature and precipitation. Summers are warm and fairly humid, with showers and thundershowers. Most precipitation falls during the summer months. Winters are cold and dry with brief snowstorms and occasional periods of extreme cold. First freeze is early October, last is late April.
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