Coralville receives $7.1 million in federal flood relief - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Coralville receives $7.1 million in federal flood relief

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CORALVILLE (KWWL) - The City of Coralville just received a big chunk of federal money, which it will use to protect itself from future flooding. It's a $7.1 million grant from the Economic Development Agency.

Coralville's Assistant City Administrator Ellen Habel says they're working on plans to elevate the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway Company (CRANDIC) rail line along the Iowa River, up to seven feet high in some areas. It's a project with a $9.6 million price tag.

More than a year after the 2008 flood, many buildings that were once home to businesses along the Coralville strip are still boarded up.

"15 to 20 percent of them haven't returned," said Habel, "and it's important for businesses to know for the future, that if they're going to reinvest that they will have protection."

Habel hopes the city's plan to raise the CRANDIC rail line and place berms along the river, will send a message to business owners that it's safe to come back. "It will also include a lot of permanent and removable flood walls that will basically stretch from the Iowa River Power area, all the way over to The Vine."

The $7.1 million from the EDA will be supplemented by another $2.5 million from the Community Development Block Grant Program. Habel estimates construction will begin in summer next year.

City councilman Tom Gill says the project shouldn't cause any disruption to the rail line's light freight use. "We've contacted CRANDIC, and they will be able to use it throughout the whole time that we are doing these roadbeds."

Gill says the city has applied for several more state and federal grants, that would need to be matched locally. "Once we get all the matching grants, then we will sit down and figure out what we will need from the taxbase to match what federal and state money we're going to be getting."

The city is also moving forward with buyouts of 17 flood-damaged homes along Edgewater Drive, near the Interstate 80 and 1st Avenue interchange.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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