Hundreds of people are joining a small business owner in downtown Cedar Rapids – who is asking city officials to revise their flood protection plans. John Schnipkoweit says he doesn’t like the city’s preliminary plan because it would likely include the demolition of homes and businesses.

Last week, he launched an on-line petiti on asking the city to look at other options besides flood walls and levees. Nearly 400 people have added their names to the petition.

"It started some discussions, which I don’t think were present before. To me, that’s more valuable than how many signatures we get," Schnipkoweit said. If enough people sign the petition, Schnipkoweit hopes city leaders will consider other options to prevent another flood. He says the final plan will affect Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities for years to come.

"Since we are the second largest city in Iowa, we need to be the leader. We need to talk to the communities north and south of us and say, ‘Let’s come up with some responsible plans,’" Schnipkoweit said. The petition suggests the development of a canal system to protect the city from flooding. City leaders, however, have rejected that idea saying it’s not feasible financially or logistically.

An open house for people to give their opinion about the plan for levees and flood walls will take place Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids.