Cedar Rapids Residents and Business Leaders Speak to the Importance of Flood Protection
A number of Cedar Rapids residents and businesses owners attended a joint City council committee meeting to voice their support and encouragement for the City to develop a plan for funding the remaining portion of the Flood Control System. The meeting was held on Monday, July 9 with members of the Flood Control System Council Committee and the Finance and Administrative Council Committee. The meeting provided the public an opportunity to share their opinions on permanent flood protection, including discussing the importance of flood control and ideas for funding the complete Flood Control System.
While speaking to the committee, Al Pierson, owner of Pierson’s Flower Shop on Ellis Blvd NW and President of the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association, emphasized the need to fund the completion of the entire flood control system, saying he and others in the area “don’t sleep well when it rains up north,” worried about potential flooding. “Flooding effects everyone in the City, not just business owners and employees,” said Pierson. “Growth in core neighborhoods is important, but it is difficult for small businesses like mine when flood insurance premiums are over $15,000 per year.”
Ana McClain, owner of Lion Bridge Brewing Company in Czech Village also spoke to the critical need of long term flood protection in order to allow businesses like hers to feel comfortable expanding in the area, and relieve the expense of flood insurance.
“While helping sandbag neighborhoods in 2016, I could see the trauma in people’s eyes,” said Matthew 25 Executive Director Clint Twedt-Ball “They can’t keep going through the trauma again and again. My hope is that council will look at creative ways so the time table can be accelerated. This needs to be a priority now.” Twedt-Ball also emphasized the need for affordable housing, noting that flood insurance costs around $100 per month makes affordable housing in core neighborhoods difficult.
A total of nine city residents and business owners spoke at the meeting – all encouraging the committee members to look for a way to fund the planned flood control system as quickly as possible. Many noted the business impacts that occur even in the absence of flood damage – loss of production, loss of employee’s time, and loss of revenue negatively impacted many local businesses and workers in the 2016 flood fight, even without water damage.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Scott Overland, Chair of the Finance and Administrative Council Committee thanked those in attendance for sharing their experiences and opinions on the need for flood protection. “The City’s commitment is real. We will be pushing as hard as possible to finish segments of this project until all seven and a half miles are complete as soon as possible,” stated Overland. “Our next step is to develop a funding plan and present it to the community, which we will be doing soon.”
Cedar Rapids Council Members Tyler Olson and Scott Overland are meeting with a number of local community groups to talk about flood control system funding and hear from residents on the topic. If your community group would like a council member to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss this topic, contact the City at email@example.com or 319-286-5080.