Cedar Falls and Waterloo are now beginning the process of cleaning up and tallying damage as flood waters from the Cedar River begin to recede. Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews says operations are starting to return to normal again in his city.
"Downtown Cedar Falls was open as of eight o’clock this morning. Business owners could go in yesterday and there are some businesses opening up today," Crews says. "…Bars and restaurants and heavy users of water are not because the sewage treatment facility with additional rains and continued rains and pressures…we’re concerned about backup."
The Cedar River has dropped significantly since Wednesday morning’s record crest. "The river’s come down seven feet from its high and right now it’s within a foot of the all-time record before so there is substantial damage, for sure, throughout," Crews says.
City officials are thanking the thousands of sandbagging volunteers who helped shore up a levee which protected the downtown area from flooding. While the main business district stayed relatively dry, the low-lying end of town known as North Cedar didn’t fare as well. "The city is concentrating now on trying to assess some homes…We’re also trying to fix streets that have been washed out," Crews says. "Center Street — the major north/south street through there — is passable now. It was done last night with contractors getting in because there were two feet gaps on the side of the road that would be unsafe to drive on."
Federal Emergency Management Agency Director David Paulison and other state and local officials toured the area today. The group met with residents of the Chatauqua Park neighborhood, which is along the Cedar River. Paulison promised that FEMA would work closely with state and local officials to make quick assistance available to those who need it.
"This is a team effort. One group cannot do it by themselves…That’s why we’re all here together. That’s the example we want to set that this is a local, state and federal response as a team to make sure that we’re going to do everything we can do to get you back on your feet," Paulison told the residents.