Residents of Cedar Rapids today can get their first look at a flood protection plan for the east side of the Cedar River. City leaders and the Army Corps of Engineers have developed the plan to prevent the type of flooding the city had in 2008. Cedar Rapids Public Works Project Engineer David Scanlan says the two to three mile long levee system would carry a $100-million price tag.

“It’s a 35/65 percent split, 65% will be federal dollars and 35% will be city money and that’s where a local option sales tax will come into play,” Scanlan said. That extension of the local option sales tax was voted down in the spring. But a group of residents called Cedar Rapids Extended Sales Tax, or CREST, isn’t letting go of the option.

They’ve crafted a petition to get the issue back on the ballot in 2012 with some changes. Al Pierson, with CREST, says all they need is enough signatures. “As of a couple weeks ago, we were at about 75%. There are hundreds more (signatures) that have come in. We do need more,” Pierson said.

In addition, Congress has yet to approve the federal portion of funding for the project. If all goes as planned, construction could begin as early as 2014. Two public input meetings are taking place today at noon and 5 p.m. at the African American Museum on 12th Avenue in Cedar Rapids.

By Jill Kasparie, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids