Another chapter in Cedar Rapids history is ending as the home buyout program is concluding.
Nearly four years after the 2008 flood, a final round of residents will sell their damaged property to the city. More than $80-million has been spent through federal grants to buy some 1,300 properties, so far.
Program organizer Clint Twedt-Ball says dozens of lots still sit vacant or untouched.
“It’s hard for people outside of the flood zone to believe that four years later, we’re still really in the middle of recovery, that there’s a lot of work left to be done, but that’s the reality,” Twedt-Ball says.
Many of those lots will be turned into green space. A few damaged homes can be rehabilitated.
Betty Strong and her family are among the final few applying for a buyout. Strong says they’ve spent thousands of dollars repairing their flooded home and the costs keep racking up.
“We still need to replace the basement walls and that’s going to be $20,000 there,” Strong says. “Of course, we still need to re-do all the floors because they’re still cracking. So how much have we spent? I think we’ve spent 30,000 and we’ve probably got another 20,000 to get the house up to par.”
More than a hundred lots are still vacant or untouched. City officials say they plan to build 200 new, affordable homes in the flood-affected areas.