Waterloo continues to focus on recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo continues to focus on recovery

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by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) - It wasn't the Cedar River that forced hundreds of people out of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, it was the backing up of the city's storm sewer, which was overwhelmed by all of the extra water. 

City officials, like Mayor Tim Hurley didn't know how bad it was going to get.  

"Probably some degree of okay it's going to be a little bit worse, but we're holding and what happened in the next 24 to 36 hours was just unbelievable," Mayor Hurley said.

Last year we met Jim Miller, the President of Pioneer Graphics as he and fellow co-workers tried to save their business by sand bagging and keeping the water at bay.   

"We were very fortunate. We were able to protect most things. We got some seepage in the floors and other places, but it could have been much worse if we didn't have all those volunteers," Miller said.

Despite all of the damage Mayor Hurley says he has used those days as a learning experience and city officials will know how to react when the river starts to rise in the future.

"It isn't if it will happen again, it will happen again. We don't know where, but it will so what are we going to do with the lessons we learned," Hurley said.

One neighborhood that couldn't be saved despite a lot of hard work was San Souci Island. The city is waiting to hear from government officials before beginning the buyout process. It's not mandatory, but the city would like to see those homeowners take part.

"It's very clear that the city administration would like that entire island bought out and turned in to a green space and we'll never have to worry about it again," Hurley said.

Keeping the city moving forward is what city officials and local business leaders are looking forward to in the years to come.

"It will just be an okay year for us but we've made it all through and we'll continue on," said Miller.

"The citizens of Waterloo can rest assured that their city staff and working in conjunction with the state and the feds and the council and very much have them in mind that this will not happen again the way it did in 2008," Hurley said.

To better prepare Waterloo for any future floods the city is checking all of it's levee's and they are also adding lift stations around the Cedar River to keep all of the storm water out of the city and in the river's banks.

 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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