CEDAR FALLS — State Street is becoming a great street.
Construction over the summer on the River Place development has led to new businesses and activities, drawing people to the area. On the corner of State and Second streets an amphitheater and recreational river access is being built where bike and kayak enthusiasts can enjoy the Cedar River. The businesses already open in the area have been reaping the benefits.
“The influx of people living in this area has increased my business tremendously,” said Justeen Hill, Tea Cellar co-owner. “It’s almost like being introduced to a whole new arena of people in this area.”
The Tea Cellar moved to its new location on State Street at the beginning of the year.
Hill originally wanted to stay located on Main Street, but couldn’t find space. Since moving to its State Street location, the Tea Cellar has tripled its business.
“Last week was the best week of our entire year in business,” Hill said. “The foot traffic has increased. The motor traffic has increased. Everything’s good on State Street.”
Hill referred to State Street as the new Main Street.
“It’s a natural progression in the development of downtown,” said Carol Lilly, Community Main Street executive director.
State was “a perfect example of an area that was under utilized,” Lilly said. “River Place development came in and did a fantastic job of incorporating the new with the old.”
Urban Pie has been on State Street for almost three years. The recent additions to the area have boosted sales for pizza pub after some hard times.
“It’s been hard to get people to walk a block off of Main Street and explore a little bit,” said Justin Buck, Urban Pie co-owner. “This summer has definitely been a lot better.”
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Over the past year downtown Cedar Falls has seen implementation of new parking regulations and the beginning of an ongoing streetscape project.
The development of the corner of State and Second streets has been in the works for many years, Lilly said. The new amphitheater will add to the area’s ambiance and allow for outdoor concerts. In July, the Live to 9 Friday night music events moved to the intersection from Sturgis Park.
“It’s going to be a social gathering place,” Lilly said. “We want to see downtown continue to grow and thrive.”
Andy Tetmeyer, Andy’s Mobile Bike Shop, has only been open for three weeks, but has found the new developing area great.
“I think it’s good for everybody,” Tetmeyer said.
His bike shop is right near what will be a bike trail head, and every Monday night the shop hosts a bike ride.
“If you show up for that you get a free beer from Second State,” Tetmeyer said.
“This expansion of the district has allowed for opportunities for more people to be a part of the destination of our district,” Lilly said. “It has expanded the opportunity for success or greater success off the main core.”
People want more experiences in their nightlife, and the new businesses have helped create a destination in Cedar Falls, Lilly said.
“If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t even be looking at Main Street right now, it would be State Street,” Hill said.