Iowa City flood officials push for new levee - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City flood officials push for new levee

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Iowa City flood officials say they want to see more flood protection along the Iowa River in south Iowa City. But the owners of one mobile home park in this area are opposed, because they say the flood protection they already have in place is good enough.

Karen Baculis, owner of Baculis Homes, says her mobile home park flooded in 1993.

"That's the first time we've ever had water come up over the river bank," said Baculis.

She and her husband later tried building an earth barrier to prevent future flooding, but that effort was stopped by a city lawsuit. Eventually, she says a judge dropped the case, and allowed the birm to be built. But now that city flood officials are pushing for a new flood levee here, they want it taken down, and have filed a citation against Baculis and her husband to get it done. She can't understand why.

"And then what do you do with this?" Baculis asked. "That's a lot of dirt."

She says if it's not broke, don't fix it.

"We'd like to go ahead and finish up our earth birm. It worked. In 2008, it worked."

But Julie Tallman, the city's development regulation specialist, told us the birm doesn't meet federal, state or local standards of design and construction. She says it's also causing water back-up problems for nearby properties. The owner of Thatcher Mobile Home Park, which is adjacent to Baculis's park, has agreed to take down his makeshift flood wall, made of dirt and sandbags.

The new wall would cost around $3.8 million, and be paid for with a combination of Community Development Block Grant and I-Jobs II funding. It would stretch about 27-hundred feet along the river, and construction would begin next spring.

"It would start in March or April, and then the city engineer indicated it could probably be finished by late fall, October or November," said David Purdy, city flood recovery specialist.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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