CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Two entrepreneurs and leaders in Czech Village and New Bohemia received special recognition April 20, at an awards luncheon at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
Don Barrigar and Mary Kay Novak McGrath were named the 2022 recipients of the Robert Chadima Visionary Award. The award is presented annually to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the DISTRICT: Czech Village & New Bohemia, and reflect the late Robert Chadima’s vision of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity for the neighborhood.
See past award recipients
Barrigar’s involvement in the district began when he and a group of partners purchased the Hawkeye Seed warehouse, now known as Water Tower Place.
“During the renovation process, Don fell in love not only with this project, but with the greater New Bohemia neighborhood,” his son, Jackson Barrigar, said during the event.
Barrigar and his wife, Diann, founded Third Ward Development and purchased and restored the Kurik House after the 2008 flood, while developing row houses on Second Street SE.
He served as president of the district and continues to volunteer at Czech Village and New Bohemia events.
“Czech Village has always had a fond place in Mary Kay’s heart,” Jim Piersall, chairman of the district’s Self-Supported Municipal District Commission, said of McGrath.
More than five years ago, she pondered investing in a property on 16th Avenue in Czech Village.
“Then she discovered 12 properties were up for sale, but she had to buy all of them if she wanted just one,” he said. “She decided right then to go for it.”
She has since worked non-stop on renovations, updates and creative ways to bring people to Czech Village, he noted.
“Mary Kay is a true visionary,” Piersall said. “While she strives to improve the future of the area, she also cares deeply about preserving its history.”
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[…] decades later and McGrath, who by then owned a dozen buildings in Czech Village, was looking for ways to bring families to the historic business […]