A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers review board has approved a $100-million flood protection plan for Cedar Rapids. It would protect parts of the city that are on the east side of the Cedar River.
A number of other federal agencies and — ultimately — Congress must review and approve the plan, too, but Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says getting the stamp of approval from the Corps is crucial. “Congress is going to be watching the dollars that it spends in the upcoming congressional session, so it’s critical that we have a project that the Corps supports because as they’re trying to prioritize their spending, they do look to the other governmental agencies,” Corbett says.
“And the fact that they can recommend protecting Cedar Rapids is a big step for us.” Corbett is still hoping to get congressional approval for an additional plan to protect the West side of the river corridor as well. “This is an important step, but it’s not the last step,” Corbett says. “Our total project is $375 million that protects both sides of the river, so we’re not going to give up on protecting both sides of the river. We continue to work hard to continue to get that done, and this is an important first step in that effort.”
Army Corps of Engineers restrictions, however, seem to suggest getting money for the rest of the project may be difficult, as property values aren’t high enough on the other side of the river to quality for the federal investment. Corbett believes the east side flood protection project for Cedar Rapids may be considered by congress as soon as February.