Utilizing Vision Iowa funds, the city of Waterloo undertook a downtown revitalization project in 2012, termed “River Renaissance,” working with INVISION to plan and design a gathering place for civic events. The goal of the project was to re-establish a connection to the broader Cedar Valley and the Cedar River including a performance amphitheater with an acoustic shell structure, a trail system throughout the downtown Waterloo area, plaza spaces, river dam improvements to increase recreation opportunities on the Cedar River, a children’s playground, and interpretive sign components.
The performance structure was designed to be visually striking, composed of a fabric roof on steel columns to withstand any possible flood waters. Neutral limestone and colored paving on the plaza, in conjunction with unique LED lighting, tie together native prairie landscape elements for a cohesive whole. Throughout the process, Cedar Valley residents had opportunities to provide input on the design to create a more universal sense of pride and ownership in the finished development.