Iowa City receives $25 million for flood recovery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City receives $25 million for flood recovery


IOWA CITY (KWWL)--The Iowa River has played a critical role in shaping the identity of Iowa City.

Friday, the city took major steps in protecting against the river, in the event of another major flood.

"The federal funds announced today represent a benefit to all of us, to the entire area," Mayor Matt Hayek said.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced Iowa City would receive $25 million in federal grants to address its two priorities in flood mitigation.

"I applaud the community leaders for their vision, their foresight and their determination.  They kept really impressing on us the need for these federal funds," Locke said.

$22 million will be used to relocate the north wastewater treatment plant.

The plant serves Iowa City businesses and residences as well as University of Iowa hospitals and research labs.  It was wiped out for 30 days during 2008's flood.

"It's going to do two things for us, it's going to eliminate vulnerability to flooding of our waste water facility and also it's going to replace a facility that was really old and in need of replacement," Public Works Director Rick Fosse said.

Iowa City will also receive federal dollars for a second major project, and that's to raise Dubuque Street to help prevent what happened in 2008.

City officials estimate 25 thousand cars travel the road each day.

"It's our primary access point," Hayek said.

Secretary Locke awarded the city $3 million to completely cover the costs of engineering and design work to raise the street.

The money will also be used to raise the Park Avenue bridge, which acted as a dam during 2008's flood.

"Moving your infrastructure, your roads and bridges up higher, and doing it in a way that doesn't cause more damage in the future by allowing the water to flow under. That's a good way to go," Locke said.

It's progress for a city that centers itself so much around the river.

Secretary Locke also awarded three other communities with grant money.  Columbus Junction will receive $2.9 million to relocate its water treatment facility, Dubuque will receive $1.5 million to build a multilevel parking facility, and Shenandoah will receive $232,500 to rebuild a storm sewer system.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner


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