'You had protected an entire city, but us': Reflecting on 2016 f - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'You had protected an entire city, but us': Reflecting on 2016 floods 1 year later

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KWWL -

It's been one year since devastating flooding took over much of Eastern Iowa, and businesses are still working to recover. 

For the people of Cedar Rapids, the floods of 2008 were still very much a fresh memory when they got word they would be getting another major flood. For that reason, the city and its residents wasted no time implementing any precaution they could. 

The city built a hesco barrier wall that would serve as flood protection for its businesses in the Newbo area. However, the wall noticeably left a few businesses on the other side of the wall, in the way of flood waters. 

Tornado's Grub & Pub, just south of Newbo, was one of the businesses left out of the city's flood protection. Tornado's owner Tom Slaughter says the memory still stings, even a year later. 

"You had protected an entire city, but us, and I really wish someone could tell me that's okay," said Slaughter. 

Slaughter says he had four feet of water right outside his door, leaving the only way to travel by boat. Slaughter says he put everything on the line to save his business. He worked around the clock with his sons to pump out the water from their basement, even going against the city's evacuation orders at their own risk. 

"I don't understand how somebody or anybody could justify what they did," said Slaughter.

Last year, during a news conference, Cedar Rapids city manager Jeff Pomeranz said they had no choice but to put the wall where they did. 

Even though business is back and better than ever for Slaughter, he says he still doesn't believe that was the case. 

But even businesses on the other side, who were included in the temporary flood protection, still saw flooding. 

On the corner from Tornado's sits Little Bohemia, a bar with long-standing history, now surviving two major floods. Little Bohemia owner Jeff Melsha says he had four feet of flood water in his basement. 

Before they evacuated, Melsha cleared out virtually everything inside his bar, not knowing what to expect.

"We had no idea that it had even breached and we had four feet of water in the basement, said Melsha. "Everybody thinks that the wall made this side safe, well that was not true. And I came back and the freezer was laying on its back in the basement. Plus the land was so saturated, we had four feet of water in the basement. So our new furnace from 2008 went out, hot water heater, some electrical, so we were out another month and a half."

The bar is back open, but Melsha says there is still unfinished business a year later. 

"The city of Cedar Rapids was supposed to be helping us with the loss of business-we're still waiting," said Melsha. "It's a year later, we still haven't got our money. They said they're out of money. We're also supposed to be waiting for the city to fix our sidewalk and parking lot, where they came through with a skid loader to fill in where the wall had breached, and they're waiting for federal funds, so we're waiting on that too. Thank god we don't have any water this year again."

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