By Donald Pafko, Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic
On Wednesday, December 15, 2010, the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to initiate the move and expansion of the flood damaged building currently located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. During this ground breaking ceremony, the Board of Directors of the library announced they had met a major milestone in the reconstruction of the museum following the devastation of the June, 2008 flood. With funding from the State of Iowa, individuals and businesses in the Cedar Rapids area, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance and national and international donors, the library reached its capital fundraising goal of $25 million, which made it possible for the museum to officially break ground on the site of the new museum and library.
The ceremony was held on the building site followed by a reception at the museum’s Kosek Building, its home since the flood. Along with thirteen other individuals, including state senators and the mayor of Cedar Rapids, I was honored as Slovak Honorary Consul to be part of the groundbreaking ceremony. We were all issued white construction hard hats and golden shovels with which to break ground as television cameras and photographers snapped pictures.
Site preparation has begun, with the move of the damaged building scheduled for May, 2011 and opening of the new expanded library scheduled for May, 2012.