Featured in the Gazette, written by Dean Spina, guest columnist – Sep 30, 2017

The famous “Field of Dreams” movie line, “build it and people will come,” describes the beginning and ensuing success of NewBo City Market. Three years of a volunteer-led effort, supported by scores of local donors, brought the idea of a city market to reality in October 2012.

A nonprofit organization managed by a volunteer board of directors, the market is not owned or controlled by any government or business. The market is you.

In just five years you have made it into a place where people want to be. Thank you!

All shopkeepers are open four days a week, and expansion is under consideration. Part of the market with the GO Cedar Rapids Visitor Center and Roasters coffee shop is now open seven days a week. Outdoor space is used night and day as a focal point of the New Bohemia District.

Evolving from the vision of its founders, the market has become even more than was hoped. With the efforts of nonprofit leaders, business owners, developers and residents, the New Bohemia District has undergone a transformation.

One founder said, “Although it was our dream that thousands would enjoy the market, it happened much sooner and on a larger scale than we imagined.”

Today, the New Bohemia District and NewBo City Market are flourishing because you celebrate creativity, opportunity, commitment, uniqueness, friendships, shopping, entertainment, food and diversity. You bring your family, friends and co-workers, and you return frequently.

You have brought hundreds of events including parades, concerts, walk-a-thons, festivals, races, pop-up markets, classes, campaigns and weddings. Thank you to those of you who have planned, sponsored, and attended these events.

Members of the media frequently come to the market when looking for public comment, knowing thoughtful people are likely to be found.

You are the vitality that sustains.

My Czech heritage was first celebrated in the New Bohemia District over sixty years ago and I proudly wear a shirt (available at the market) that states “I was Bohemian before it was new.” However, the “New” Bohemian diversity, mutual support, appreciation for opportunity and sense of community allows all of us to connect and celebrate a universal “Bohemian” spirit.

That spirit was evident in September 2016 when hundreds of volunteers descended on the district to fill and place thousands of sand bags. It continues at weekly events such as Thursday evening Meet Me at the Market, Rock the Block Friday night concerts, Saturday special events and Sunday family time.

The development and growth of the district, anchored by the market, is a model for other areas and communities.

Thank you for making the market a success and we hope you will continue to come and support the events and businesses in the New Bohemia District.

We will celebrate five years with an evening “NewBo Bash” on Oct. 14, and we would love to have you join us. For information go to newbocitymarket.org.

• Dean Spina, an attorney at Bradley & Riley PC, is president of the board of directors of NewBo City Market. Comments: president@newbocitymarket.org