Cedar Rapids city leaders and representatives with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are revisiting 16 facilities as they try to determine how many federal dollars the city should receive for flood-damaged public buildings. The walk-throughs include damage assessments not only of the structure but what was in the building.
Cedar Rapids Flood Recovery Director Greg Eyerly says the walk-throughs will likely result in the city getting more federal money than initially anticipated. “I think we’ll come out of this final set of walk-throughs with FEMA, with the outside engineering firms, with city staff … we’ll come out better than we probably ever would have hoped,” Eyerly said.
Some of the buildings included in the reassessment are the U.S. Cellular Center, the Public Works Building and City Hall. Eyerly says it’s important to thoroughly assess the damage so the city can receive as much money as possible. “There are two things that we don’t want to do to future generations. Number one, leave them with a big debt. Number two, rebuild something and not do it right,” Eyerly said.
“Future tax payers and future generations have to live with those decisions.” The final walk-throughs will be completed early next month and the total amount of FEMA money will be determined by the end of October. The process, which also involves state officials, is complicated and requires all parties to agree on the amount.
Eyerly estimates the damage to public facilities at about a-half-billion dollars. So far, FEMA has agreed to pay for about one-third of the damages.