Cedar Rapids Mayor gives state of the city address - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids Mayor gives state of the city address

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)--  It's been nearly three years since the city of Cedar Rapids was overtaken by the Cedar River.   Since June of 2008, signs of recovery have been showing up all over the flood ravaged areas.   But how much more is left to do?

Mayor Ron Corbett delivered his state of the city speech at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center Wednesday and talked about how far the city has come and how far they have left to go.

The mayor compared flood recovery to the Legend Car race he drove in at Hawkeye Downs last spring.

He says Cedar Rapids has turned the corner and is approaching the straight away.

Corbett spoke to about 300 invited guests, poking fun at his second place finish in that charity car race.

Corbett says, "If you don't press on the gas you end up just putt putting around the track, and what happens? You get passed!!!"

Corbett compared his driving approach to flood recovery efforts, which he says have improved from last March.

"This year as we're coming around the corner making that turn we need to put our pedal to the metal, as they say in racing terms. Construction and reconstruction is all on track."

Corbett went on to say the future of his city depends on how much people trust their local government.  He says his staff, the city council and city manager's top goal is to find the most affordable way to protect both sides of the river from future flooding.

"Our economic future depends on our ability to protect our city from future flooding and there has not been a day since I was elected that I haven't thought about flood protection."

The mayor concluded with a plea for the public to vote in favor of extending the local option sales tax twenty years.  That issue hits the ballot in May.  Corbett says state and federal funds are more likely to come through if Cedar Rapids meets its local match.

Corbett says, "This is our flood protection project. We have to jump in up first, sending a strong message.  We leverage them, the state and federal government."

Critics in the crowd raised the question of why the local option sales tax vote can't wait until the November election.  Corbett says financing flood protection is like financing for a house:  its more affordable if you spread out the cost over time.

To read the entire speech, visit the City of Cedar Rapids website at:




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