Cedar Rapids leaders have reached a deal with the Army Corps of Engineers to help the city rebuild from the floods of 2008. In order to get 65-million federal dollars for levees and floodwalls, Cedar Rapids has to put up $35-million. Under the deal, money spent on flood mitigation will count towards the total. City Public Works Director Dave Elgin says those projects must be compatible with Corps flood protections.
“The agreement then stipulates that any flood improvements that are made that can become an integral part of the future flood system that is funded by the federal government, that the city can then receive credit for those expenses as part of their local match.” The first projects are expected to include a floodwall protecting the downtown Quaker Oats factory. Elgin says any new projects have to integrate with the Corps’ mitigation efforts.
“So whether it’s Quaker Oats or the city’s property or Cargill’s property or Alliance property, it doesn’t matter,” Elgin says. “If it can be done in a way that it can become an integral part of the future system, the city can receive credit for that as part of a local match.”
A massive levee along the Cedar River that was built after the flood of 1929 was completely underwater in June of 2008. Some 1,300 city blocks in Cedar Rapids were flooded, affecting 3,900 homes.