Saving the memories of Sans Souci - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Saving the memories of Sans Souci


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- One of the hardest hit areas during the floods of 2008 was Sans Souci Island in Waterloo. Hours of sand bagging and working to protect this community was in vain as the Cedar River eventually over took the little island.

Linda Sharp and MariLynn Pierce lost their home and so much more.

"The lifestyle, the woods, the river, the tranquility, the history, just everything the river has meant," said Sharp.

"Without exception every family have had the same sense of loss. We have each lost the sense of loss. We have each lost the sense of community, the sense of neighbor, friendship, and family we had here as a small community within the bigger community of Waterloo," said Pierce.

Employees for the City of Waterloo, like Aric Schroeder, have been putting in long hours trying to find a solution for Sans Souci. It was decided that all of the homes would be bought out with the help from FEMA funds.

"Once we finally got to that point we had all of those details worked out and started making offers, it really picked up. We're close on two homes on Riverside right across the river from Sans Souci and we started closing on homes in the Sherwood area a little further up stream," said Schroeder.

"I want to give the folks who lost their homes a big kudos for being able to work with us, FEMA for helping us out and those folks who have been involved through the city process and to finally just about to bring this to fruition. It's been a long process," said Waterloo Mayor, Buck Clark.

The City of Waterloo has bough out 19 of the 20 houses on Sans Souci Island and demolition on those houses could start as early as this fall. The City of Waterloo is hoping to turn this entire area into green space.

For those who once called this place home the demolition will be bitter sweet.

"It's a lot of history down the river. It's a lot of history through what we have here and the city will have it to share with the whole community," said Sharp.

"I'm looking forward to the time the cranes are in and the buildings are gone and I know memories will go with that too but in looking forward to that time of the destruction gone and the land returned to a place where everybody in the community there can come and enjoy this place," said Pierce.

During the process of acquiring the properties, the City of Waterloo also had to do archeological testing. The purpose was to make sure there were no remains left from former Indian tribes who once lived along the river. So far no remains were found.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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