Cedar Rapids officials hope a federal grant of nearly two-and-a-half million dollars will improve the community’s response to emergencies. The 9-1-1 service and public safety communications were interrupted for significant amounts of time during the flood of 2008. Cedar Rapids Police Chief Greg Graham says the new network is a key part of flood recovery.
“The ultimate goal is that if we were to lose this building again that our employees, our dispatchers could go over to the sheriff’s office or over to Marion and plug in and be able to fully function as if they were sitting in our own building,” Graham says. Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Mt. Vernon, says the grant should improve emergency and disaster response in Cedar Rapids.
“We’ve got to make sure that our first responders and that our emergency management officials have every tool that they can possibly use and need at their disposal so that the can do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible,” Loebsack said. The total cost of the communications network is ten million dollars and is expected to be completed in 2012.
Cedar Rapids also received money from the state’s I-JOBS program Friday for other disaster recovery projects. The former federal courthouse will receive two million dollars for renovations and flood protection. Also, Cedar Rapids city hall in the Veteran’s Memorial Building will receive more than four million dollars.