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City Breaks Ground on Sinclair Levee

City Breaks Ground on Sinclair Levee

City officials celebrated a milestone in permanent flood protection during a groundbreaking for the Sinclair Levee on October 11. The ceremony acknowledged the construction of the first permanent flood protection since the adoption of the Flood Control System Master Plan in June 2015.

Mayor Ron Corbett and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz thanked funding and community partners Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers.

A snapshot of the flood protection measures for the NewBo/Sinclair area includes:

Sinclair LeveeRendering depicting future levee and gate system

  • Construction: 2016 – End of 2017 
  • just under half a mile from the African-American Museum to Alliant Substation 
  • 13 feet tall on average 
  • Provides immediate protection to the 40 year flood, approximately 20-foot river crest
  • Upon completion of the entire Flood Control System, will protect against 2008 flood volume. 
  • Includes a 12’ wide concrete bike/pedestrian trail on the top of levee 
  • More than 105,000 cubic yards of impervious fill material in the levee core 
  • More than 40,000 cubic yards of common fill material used to make the side slopes gentler
  • Project includes walls next to 16th Ave to transition to a future gate
Detention Basin

  • Construction: 2016 – End of 2017 
  • 4.4 acres
  • Provides protection in the event of rain inundation 
  • Can safely store rainwater up to 4 feet deep until it can be pumped back into the river

Pump Station Rendering of Sinclair pump station

  • Construction: 2016 – End of 2017 
  • Capacity of 2,500 gallons per minute at opening, with expansion capability
  • Used when storm sewer system needs to be closed off from the threat of a rising crest
  • Pumps rainwater back over into river in the event of rain inundation

Lot 44 Pump Station

  • Construction: 2016 – Spring 2018Rendering of brick pump house
  • Pumping capacity: 12,000 gallons per minute at opening, with expansion capacity
  • Aesthetics designed to complement neighboring NewBo District 
  • Enclosed to enhance aesthetics 
  • Includes gates that close to protect from the river backing up through storm sewers.

Total investment in these flood protection measures is approximately $20 million.

BACKGROUND ON FLOOD CONTROLLogo for Flood Control System


Permanent flood protection measures for the NewBo/Sinclair District were identified in the Cedar River Flood Control System master plan adopted by Council in June 2015. The Sinclair Levee project marks the construction of the first permanent measures since the adoption of the master plan.

Since 2008, the City has significantly reduced its flood risk. A history of risk reduction efforts includes

  • Developed interim flood control plan
  • Removed 1,300+ properties from the flood zone
  • Secured GRI state funding
  • Improved Water System and raised the City’s wells
  • Raised buildings flooded in 2008
  • Raised two bridges over Prairie Creek
  • Designed and constructed the McGrath Amphitheatre levee
  • Designed the CRST building to include a flood wall
  • Completed improvements to the sanitary sewer system and watershed management practices.
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