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Luncheon Connects Old, Young Minds

Nicole Riehl

The Gazette

February 25, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    CEDAR RAPIDS — Young people have energy and fresh ideas.

    Older, established community members have the means to make those ideas happen.

    So why not bring them together?

    Connecting people and ideas was the purpose of the ‘‘Young Person’’ Luncheon, which drew 250 young adults and community leaders on Friday to a room above Blend restaurant, 221 Second Ave. SE.

    The lunch was hosted by Creative Economy, a loosely formed Corridor-based group striving to grow Iowa’s economy and population. The 2-year-old group follows the principles of Richard Florida, author of ‘‘The Rise of the Creative Class,’’ who believes talent helps economies grow.

    ‘‘(Creative Economy) is about making those connections, rather than having a formal organization that has bylaws and regular meetings,’’ Andy Stoll of Iowa City, one of the emcees, said after the event. ‘‘Because it’s all-inclusive and anyone can come, it leads to some very interesting and successful connections.’’

    The meeting included entertainment but most of the hour was spent on business.

    In 10 minutes, 10 people presented 10 ideas, including:

Plan a North vs. South Corridor softball game for charity.

Create a public art project in Cedar Rapids like ‘‘The Gates’’ exhibit in New York City’s Central Park.

Use the revival of the Broadway musical ‘‘The Pajama Game,’’ which is set in Cedar Rapids, to promote the city.

Link Cedar Rapids and Iowa City with trails.

Hold a constitutional convention to evaluate whether Iowa needs as many counties and legislators as it has.

Rid downtown Cedar Rapids of empty storefronts with a revitalization project.

Make education the No. 1 priority.

    Other presenters promoted existing endeavors, like 10,000 Hours and Access Iowa.