Waterloo council considers another flood building purchase - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo council considers another flood building purchase

WATERLOO (KWWL)--- The city of Waterloo is set to purchase another downtown building that was damaged by the floods of 2008.  The city's already purchased three business buildings downtown since the flood. 

A building located in the 300 block of Jefferson Street in downtown could be the next flood damaged property purchased by the city.  It's part of an ongoing effort to shape-up the look of downtown by buying up empty buildings and lots.  The effort actually started long before the flood, but has now shifted to focus on flooded properties.

"We're targeting those to try and held flood damaged business owners to eliminate these empty buildings out of downtown," said Noel Anderson, community planning and development director. 

The building was once headquarters for the Black Hawk Center for Independent Living.  It's been sitting empty since the floods of 2008.  Now the city's poised to spend more then $200,000 to acquire it.

"This is a good opportunity while they're vacant.  This way it's not costing the city re-location.  It's not causing any business to have to relocate for the projects.  This is a good opportunity for the city as well as offering it for redevelopment," said Anderson. 

A handful of other buildings near the Jefferson Street building, that also sustained flood damage, have been bought up by the city, too.  This raises the question of when the spending spree will end.

"We always hope we're getting to the point where we're winding down.  But obviously these buildings are sitting empty from the flood.  And there's still some buildings out there that are needing assistance," Anderson said.

And city leaders insist that buying buildings like the one on Jefferson will only help revitalize downtown, by clearing out properties that would cost far too much to fix up.  It also then makes room for future development. 

The flooded buildings are set to be torn down next spring.  The land could be offered up for a dollar to help prospective businesses make the move to downtown. 

Meanwhile, the city is planning to purchase several more buildings downtown through the end of this year, including Operation Threshold on Jefferson.  That organization has already secured funding to build a new facility at a different location.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek

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