Residents of Cedar Rapids last night attended the third and final public meeting to discuss the city’s billion dollar flood protection plan. Homeowners, like Judy Harris, crowded around several maps showing the proposed locations of seven miles of flood walls. Harris is hoping for a buyout and believes the current proposal shows her home on the "wet" side of the levee that would protect part of the Czech Village area.
"I do think that’s the best and what I see today is what I expected," Harris said. The maps detailing where the levees, removable flood walls and other protection would go were not detailed enough for everyone. Building owner Jay Hahn thinks a west side levee could end up too close to his building and he figures the $200,000 he invested to repair flood damage might get wasted.
"If (the city) is going to take (the building), we’ll have to discuss how much money I want for it…it’ll be a lot," Hahn said. Another building co-owner, James Piersall, is pretty sure the current lines on the map show the levee taking out one of his commercial buildings on the west side of the Cedar River. Even if anything is years away, that would make him hesitant to repair and reopen now.
"I’d be real reluctant to spend on a building that the city in 10 years would come along and say we’ll take it from you now," he said. City officials will weigh the comments from the open house. The next step is drawing up a final plan to submit to the Army Corps of Engineers and the state.