By Dolores Bader
As the time draws near for the dedication of the new Nature Trail Bridge across the Cedar River at McFarlane Park, I think of the day we sat at our dining room table and signed over our portion of the of the land for the trail. The man we dealt with was Carl Bluedorn of Waterloo. Yes, I am referring to the Bluedorn, whose name is on Waterloo’s Imaginarium (a part of the Grout Museum District). He was a well known businessman/philanthropist who didn’t need to be running from farm to farm to provide this territory with a bike trail. He was a man of vision who looked to the future in an unbelievably positive way. Before the ink on the paper was dry he had made us firm believers in the importance of the trail to the future of the Cedar Valley.
That strip of land had been signed over once before. In earlier years it was the WCFN Railway track between Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, so we weren’t losing land that had been productive for us, but we were signing over the future productivity it offered. Bluedorn made it into a totally positive experience for us, one that we never regretted. As I read about the proposed plans for a new site for the local Library, I think of Roy and Anna Hawkins and of Carl Bluedorn. These were people with an uncommon concern for the future. They saw potential.
Now, as a community, we stand at a new crossroad. Can we look ahead with a progressive attitude and envision the potential in both the old and the new in this community? My first thought when I heard talk about re-doing the 210 Main Street as space for the Library was “What!!??” But the more I’ve thought about it I think it is a great idea. The restoration of that space as a tie-in to the frontage of our City Hall seems logical and appropriate. It is one more opportunity to honor both past and future in an innovative way. Whatever happens, the important thing is that we move in “whatever-direction” with a positive attitude.