Local Labor Continues to Build Permanent Flood Protection

May 08, 2020

April showers bring May flowers, and as is sometimes the case in Iowa, spring flooding. Twelve years ago, a historic flood forever reshaped Downtown Cedar Rapids. Although a historic recovery was made in the years following 2008, the need for permanent flood protection is especially apparent each spring.

The City of Cedar Rapids’ Flood Control System is designed to convey the same water volume as the flood of 2008, reducing flood risk through the heart of Cedar Rapids on both the west and east sides of the river. The system will include a combination of floodwalls, levees and gates, and incorporate aesthetic elements that reflect our community’s culture, history and vision.

The Economic Alliance has championed the completion of the Flood Control System using local labor to the extent possible. Studies and methods vary on precise impacts of locally reinvested dollars. But even the most conservative studies show locally owned businesses will recirculate more than three times as much money to the local economy than an out-of-area business will.

On a project that will easily exceed a half billion dollars over the next decade, that multiplier effect adds up to a huge number quickly.

Earthen Levee in Czech Village/New Bohemia District

One project in the Flood Control System is an earthen levee for the Czech Village/New Bohemia District between Ninth Avenue and 12th Avenue SE. The levee will impact the surface parking lot 44 that faces the Cedar River and the 16th Avenue bridge. At time of print of this publication, work was scheduled to begin in April. Bridge traffic, including pedestrian and bike traffic, will be rerouted through fall 2020 to the 12th Avenue bridge. In addition to the levee, a movable wall or roller gate will be constructed on 16th Avenue on the New Bohemia side of the Lion Bridge. General Constructors, Inc., an Economic Alliance member from Bettendorf, Iowa, has been awarded the project.

Local contractors are encouraged to search for Flood Control System projects to bid on at www.cedarrapidsplanroom.com.

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