Trail repair on hold after FEMA freezes funding - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Trail repair on hold after FEMA freezes funding

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -

Major repairs to an eastern Iowa nature trail have been put on hold, thanks to the hurricanes.

FEMA has stopped the $368 thousand request coming from Iowa in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The money was to repair the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which was damaged when the Cedar River overflowed in September 2016.

The floods damaged a dozen areas along the nature trail and the plan was to reconstruct those areas fairly soon, but everything is on hold now because of the devastation down south.

"The Cedar Valley Nature Trail was hit pretty hard, like a lot of places, we identified 13 washouts or blowouts along that trail," said Mike Mike Hendrickson, Black Hawk County Conservation Board Executive Director.

The flood washed away and closed many parts of the trail. FEMA stepped in and offered their help with the reconstruction costing nearly $370 thousand, but now that project is on hold.

"We were notified last Friday that due to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida that the money that is being obligated now will go towards critical needs or immediate needs," said Hendrickson. "We absolutely all understand that, we are talking about a recreational trail and there are people without homes, so we absolutely understand that."

Thirteen areas a long the trail were affected, one in Gilbertville was by far the worst.

"That blow out is about 150 feet long and about 20 feet deep so that's the big one...most of the rest are small," said Hendrickson.

For now the trail will stay broken, but many people are hopeful the money meant to fix the trail will help hurricane victims.

"We certainty hope that that money will go to fixing people's lives and making them more comfortable and getting them back on track," said Hendrickson.

There is no time line right now on when the money will be available through FEMA for the project, but the Black Hawk County Conservation Board says they will fix the trails one way or another.

Most parts of the trail are still open. The big washout area is in Gilbertville and the conservation board is urging people to be aware of the drop there.

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