Over two million dollars in economic stimulus money will go toward studying how the federal government plans to protect Cedar Rapids from another flood. The announcement of federal money came during a forum in downtown Cedar Rapids where the Army Corps of Engineers presented information about its flood protection study.
It’s expected to cost more than seven million dollars and take another two years. Project manager Chris Haring says the federal government needs to determine if it will contribute to constructing flood protection. "I think typically on a project like this, probably the fast track would be, I would say, four to five years, a fast track, if you had all the money you could hope for. More realistically you’re probably looking at eight to ten years," Haring.
Haring says part of the study looks at the cost and benefits of flood protection. Haring says, "It really has to do with what your protecting the flood against and how much it costs to build that flood protection project." Haring says the federal government is more likely to contribute to the project if it decides building dams and levees would save more money in the long-term rather than pay for another flood recovery.
Some Cedar Rapids residents say the process is too slow. Irma Mrazek was forced from her home and says displaced residents need answers sooner. "We need to shorten this process. Instead of looking at a five to ten year plan, we need to look at something, two to three, would be better," Mrazek says. As the talk of preventing future flooding continues, the City of Cedar Rapids has started taking registrations for its voluntary buyout program. The city says it has already had over 300 people register.