Two years after the worst natural disaster in Iowa history, some neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids are completely gone to make way for flood protection. Some homes remain standing, but untouched since the floods of 2008 invaded 18,000 structures over 10 square miles of the city.
Then, there are people like Don McSpadden who this week is returning to the place he called home for 40 years. Friends and former neighbors, like Velda Burns, joined in the welcome home celebration. “I just love coming back and seeing what few neighbors are left,” Burns said. “I shed tears because I miss my neighbors.” McSpadden sat on the porch of his newly refurbished home, looking around at the neighborhood. He realizes his street will never be the same.
“It’s depressing really, but I’m elated to be back in my house,” McSpadden said. “I’m going to miss a lot of my neighbors. The lady across the street used to be best friends with my wife. She used to go see her about every day.” A team of 80 volunteers donated 1,000 hours of their time to rebuild McSpadden’s home. He’s hoping more people will return to the Time Check Neighborhood soon.
“We’ll have a full neighborhood one of these days,” McSpadden said. Two years ago, the Cedar River crested at 31-feet. That’s more than eleven feet higher than it had ever been before.
The flood caused an estimated $3 billion in damage.
By Mark Geary, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids