Gore’s visit to C.R. to center on Osada

Wednesday’s Iowa trip will mix government business with politics

By Ken Sullivan Gazette senior editor. March 31, 1998
Vice President Al Gore will mix official business with politics Wednesday during a one-day visit in Iowa.

Gore, who is celebrating his 50th birthday today, will be in Cedar Rapids most of the morning for the official part of his visit. Gore will participate in the grand opening ceremony at Osada, the affordable housing project in southeast Cedar Rapids.

His plane is slated to arrive at The Eastern Iowa Airport shortly before 10 a.m., but no ceremony is planned there. Among activities planned while the vice president is at Osada is a formal dedication ceremony at 10:30. He also is scheduled to meet with residents, along with city officials and representatives of the MidAmerica Housing Partnership. Departure from Cedar Rapids is set for 12:30 p.m..

Although he has made several visits elsewhere in Iowa, this will be Gore’s first stop in Cedar Rapids since election eve 1996 when he and his wife, Tipper, joined the president and first lady at the rally at the Five Seasons Center.

The invitation for Gore to participate in the Osada event was extended by Cedar Rapids Mayor Lee Clancey during a meeting with the vice president in December 1997. His acceptance was confirmed in January, said Matt Paul, Clancey’s assistant.

Gore not only will be briefed on the Osada project but on development plans for the former FarmĀ­ stead Foods site and other property in what has been called the “Third Street Corridor.”

Osada, which is roughly translated from Czech to mean “community,” has 67 housing units in a converted grocery warehouse at 905 Third St. SE. Work began on the $7.8 million project some 18 months ago, and the first tenants moved in in January. The facility is about 50 percent occupied.
Though generally expected to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in 2000, Gore routinely discourages such speculation, urging that Democrats concentrate on this fall’s election.

But there will be time to talk politics Wednesday.

After the short flight from Cedar Rapids to Des Moines, Gore will tour Lakewood Elementary School in Norwalk and participate in an educational forum at the school.

At 7:15 p.m., he will speak at a fund-raising event at the Hotel Fort Des Moines arranged by Iowa House Democrats.

As usual, the combination of activities will require a division of expenses for the vice president’s trip aboard Air Force II.

Because of the political component of the trip, the Iowa Democratic Party will be pickĀ­ ing u p travel costs, a party spokesman said, while the balance of the day’s expenses will be pro-rated between the federal treasury and the Iowa party.