Construction of permanent flood protection in Coralville is underway and scheduled to be completed by this time next year. The flooding by the Iowa River and nearby creeks in 2008 affected nearly 200 businesses in Coralville. Coralville Mayor Jim Faucett says about 80-percent of the flooded businesses have returned, and new flood control measures will encourage more growth.
“The one’s that do come back, now they’re starting to expand, they’re hiring more people, so we put more people to work and they buy more goods and it’s certainly an economic recovery,” Faucett says. The questions whether the businesses would come back if they flood again.
“They’ve been flooded at least three times since ’93, you know, one more time that they get flooded out, I don’t know how they can afford to rebuild,” Faucett says. The new flood protection is a combination of concrete floodwalls, elevated streets, and levees.
Faucett says about $17-million are still needed to protect against flooding from nearby creeks. That’s a concern for Randy Ward, the owner of Randy’s Carpets along the Coralville Strip. “Right now if you’re looking at a building that’s in a flood zone or one that’s not almost everyone would go to the non-flood zone so until (this) flood prevention is done I think it’s going to be very difficult to get new businesses in Coralville,” Ward says.
The cost of the flood protection measures is $27-million. It’s expected to be complete by next spring.