Six months later, Czech Village showing signs of life - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Six months later, Czech Village showing signs of life

by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Six months ago the floodwaters began rising to unprecedented levels in Cedar Rapids. A walk through Czech Village now and you can still see just how far this city has to come. Virtually every building there sits empty. But that's not the case for long. Places like Al's Red Frog are set to re-open before the end of December.

As she works feverishly to re-open, Deb Anson remembers six months ago all too well.

"I'd just as soon forget," Anson said.  "It wasn't an easy time for anybody. It was pretty rough."

Anson has worked at Al's Red Frog for almost three decades. After the flood, she bought the bar from her brother. Now, like hundreds of other small businesses in Cedar Rapids, she's essentially starting over.

"We've worked some long hours," Anson said. I know there's a lot of long hours to come."

On Friday, the city's recovery and reinvestment coordinating team presented a progress report reflecting on the past six months and looking at the challenges ahead.

"We have a disaster in the billions," said Sara Mentzer with the Cedar Rapids area Chamber of Commerce.  "We are being allocated in the millions."

While the challenges remain great and the recovery long, each business that re-opens fuels others around them to do the same.

"That we can do it," said Anson when asked about coming back.  "It can be done.  Sorry, it's kind of emotional."

Anson said her number one question that remains unanswered six months after the flood is whether customers will return, but she remains confident that indeed they will.

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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