As the one year anniversary approaches, the impact of last year’s record flooding on eastern Iowa continues to bring changes to the various communities that were swallowed up by the water. That includes a major change for the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids.
Museum president and C.E.O. Gail Naughton says the big red-roofed building will no longer hold exhibitions and there will be public input sessions in the coming months on where to relocate the museum. Naughton says flooding convinced them to look for a new location.
Naughton says,"Everyone says this was a once in a lifetime, it will never happen again, and maybe that’s true but now that it has happened once we have to plan that it could happen again." Naughton says a decision on the new location will likely come by the end of this summer.
Naughton estimates the entire project will take three to five years to complete and will cost an estimated twenty-five million dollars. The Museum is currently using a Cedar Rapids mall for exhibitions and is likely to open a visitor’s center in the Czech Village sometime next year.
The city of Palo also saw major flooding, but one city official says they are making a come back. Mayor pro-tem, Paula Gunter, says city leaders and residents have been trying to see the disaster as an opportunity.
"We have new things going on in Palo that we’ve never done before. We’ve never had a farmers’ market before, we started a farmers’ market this year," Naughton says, "We’re looking at expanding some of the parks and playgrounds that we have in town. We’re looking at hard surfacing our streets, nothing that’s ever been discussed by the council before. So, we really are looking at this as an opportunity to make things better in Palo."
Demolition of Palo’s community center was completed last week. Gunter says they hope to break ground on a new City Hall and Community Center by September.