Cedar Rapids inches closer to flood protection - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids inches closer to flood protection

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - The New Bohemia neighborhood in Cedar Rapids is full of historic buildings. Following the floods of 2008, many worked to save the heritage of the area, including Legion Arts which purchased and rehabbed CSPS Hall.

"After the flood, we doubled down on our investment in the neighborhood, and we bought the building because we felt like the building had the character of where we wanted to be," said Mel Andringa, Legion Arts Producing Director.

Others agreed and moved back with a promise of flood protection coming,  a project which is moving forward this week thanks to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act moving through Congress.

"It's an exciting time for our community," said Susie Weinacht, Cedar Rapids City Council.

The Army Corps of Engineers approved a series of flood walls and levees for the east side of the Cedar River in 2011 but they needed Congress to pass a bill authorizing construction.

"We were doing the design work for the project, however, when that funding ran out we no longer had any funds to do the work so it needed the authorization," said Ron Fournier, Chief of Corporate Communications.

The city has secured nearly $264 million from the state to build protection on both sides of the river and will come up with some funds on its own.

"We need to protect our city to move forward," said Weinacht. "We're a leading economic engine for Iowa so it's important to Iowa as well as our residents."

Back in NewBo, people are glad to hear flood protection is becoming a reality.

"We need to ensure that this doesn't happen again and we need to reassure investors that this is a safe place," said Andringa.
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