On June 13, 2008, the Cedar River crested to its highest level in Cedar Rapids history, 31.12 feet. The previous record reached only 20 feet. The flood waters penetrated 10 square miles or 14 percent of the city. This monumental flood impacted 7,198 parcels, including 5,390 houses and dislocating more than 18,000 residents. More than 300 City facilities were damaged by the flood, including the Central Fire Station, Police Headquarters, Public Library, Historic Paramount Theatre, City Bus Facility and the Veterans Memorial Building, which served as the home of City Hall.
As the City continues to recover from the Flood of 2008, information about its plans and progress will be added to this web page periodically. Please check back often for updates.
River Corridor Redevelopment Plan
Phase I - Framework for Reinvestment
On June 17th, 2008, four days after the crest of the river, the City engaged the public in three open houses, which were attended by 2,680 persons. The resulting Framework for Reinvestment and Revitalization positions Cedar Rapids to not only recover from the flood but move towards its vision as a “vibrant urban hometown – a beacon for people and businesses invested in building a greater community for the next generation.” The Framework Plan focuses on the creation of a preferred Flood Management Strategy, Connectivity, and the creation of Sustainable Neighborhoods. Completion of this plan led to the Neighborhood Planning Process.
Phase II - Neighborhood Planning Process
A critical element in disaster recovery is to create a plan that has broad public support to follow. Between the months of January and May 2009, over 1,200 of the City’s residents dedicated 6,000 hours of their time planning for their kids and their kids’ kids futures; some, while still rebuilding from the flood. Over 70 members of the City’s staff, from administrative assistants to department directors, volunteered their weekends and evenings to facilitate discussions and organize the meetings.
The City of Cedar Rapids began the Neighborhood Planning Process in January 2009 immediately following a comprehensive planning process for a new flood management strategy. Both planning processes were a result of the record flooding that occurred in June 2008. The NPP was designed based on benchmark communities recognized for their high quality neighborhood planning activities and was tailored to incorporate elements specific to Cedar Rapids’ unique situation. Under normal circumstances, a community commits to creating one neighborhood plan in a four to six month period. The NPP, through the dedication of residents and staff, was able to create a plan for 10 neighborhoods in four short months. The process ensured transparency and secured broad public participation in the development of the framework plan for reinvestment. A citizen-led Steering Committee was appointed to ensure the process remained focused on the goals that were originally established. By the end of the NPP, the Community had created a framework plan for reinvestment and action steps to accomplish this plan that will be implemented over the next 10 to 15 years.