Waterloo, Cedar Falls reflect on 4 years post-floods
Written by Kera Mashek, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -
It's been four years since the devastating floods of 2008 swept across many eastern Iowa communities. Back on June 11, 2008 -- the Cedar River crested in Waterloo at 27 feet.
Since then, cities along the river have made significant strides toward flood recovery. But there's still work left to do.
You can stand along the Cedar River in Waterloo and go fishing on a nice summer day. But four years ago -- it was a much different scene. River levels were rising, in what would become an historic flood.
"We certainly didn't have the damage and destruction that other cities did, like Cedar Rapids. But we had our share. We had enough of ours, and we're almost back on our feet," said Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark.
In Waterloo, the city's undertaken several projects to bring flood ravaged areas back to life, including the boat house and Riverfront Stadium. A handful of municipal projects are on tap next.
"We have several pump stations throughout the city that were damaged or affected in one way or another that we still have a huge contract to let to get those back in order. And lots of our flood gates that were damaged or inoperable for some reason, many we've gotten fixed. Once we get the pump stations fixed, we'll pretty much be made whole again," Mayor Clark said.
Just to the north in Cedar Falls, there are further signs of flood recovery progress. But it too has some projects left to be done.
"One that we're just finishing up is moving Public Works out of the flood plain to the new industrial park. Another project we're getting ready to start is the Center Street shouldering project, which will help protect the road, if the water in the future overtops it, from being washed out. One of the other projects we're about a year from construction is adding some additional height to our levy system in the downtown area," said Ron Gaines, Cedar Falls Development Director.
In both Cedar Valley communities, there have been many hurdles in getting state and federal assistance to pay for post-flood projects. While it's been a long, sometimes challenging recovery, Waterloo and Cedar Falls Now feel more prepared should a disaster like the floods of 2008 ever strike again.
Statewide, experts peg the total damage from the floods of 2008 at more than $2 billion.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.