Eastern Iowa projects not included in President Obama's budget - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa projects not included in President Obama's Fiscal Year 2014 Budget


President Obama promised spending cuts in his 2014 budget and now there's a couple of Eastern Iowa projects that do not have any federal funds.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) received a 5.5% decrease in funds from the 2012 level. That means some of their Eastern Iowa projects did not get any funding.

Lock & Dam 11 Major Maintenance in Dubuque will have to wait. And soon, the USACE will hit a wall when it comes to building flood protection in Cedar Rapids.

The USACE is in the Preconstruction Engineering & Design (PED) phase of building East Side flood protection in Cedar Rapids. Without federal funding, the project may have to stop. That puts homes and businesses at risk if there's another big flood

If you look at the New Bohemia neighborhood of Cedar Rapids, you'll see a blend of old, new and empty areas that won't stay empty for long.

"It's a hot area," said Allen Lerch, Development Manager for New Bohemia Station. 

A now muddy lot is set to become New Bohemia Station, a building that will include retail space, a restaurant, apartments, and even extended stay hotel rooms. It will be the newest addition to this neighborhood that's still recovering from the 2008 floods, a neighborhood that wants to see east side flood protection.

"It concerns me again for the buildings that are not protected," says Lerch. "Ours will be. We certainly are concerned for the community."

The USACE is working to build a system of flood walls and levees on the east side. President Obama did not fund the project in his budget for Fiscal Year 2013 and has again excluded it for 2014. Now the USACE is running out of money.

"Unless there's more funding provided by the city or funding provided by congress, then we basically have to shut the project down," said Chris Haringer, Project Manager.

The USACE has been operating on money provided by the City of Cedar Rapids. The funds left will only last the corps until the end of the year.

"It's disappointing," said Haringer.

It's not just disappointing to the USACE. East siders have to sit, wait, and hope that eventually there will be money to fund the project.

"Let's keep our fingers crossed and we hope that we don't have, ever, have that flood again," said Lerch.

Under the design agreement with the USACE, the City of Cedar Rapids is expected to pay 25% of the design costs. The city's share is $3,093,750. The city has already given the USACE most of the money using bonds, transfers from other funds, and cash on-hand.

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