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Flood of 2008

Voluntary Property Acquisition (Buyout Program)

After the Flood of 2008, the City of Cedar Rapids created a Voluntary Property Acquisition process to reduce the loss of life and property in future disasters. An estimated 1,300 significantly flood-damaged residential and commercial properties along the Cedar River are eligible for a buyout through this process.

Each individual land transaction includes clearing title objections and legal documentation. All acquisitions in this process are based on the pre-flood assessed value of the property. This is a voluntary program and no one is required to participate. Property owners may choose to withdraw from the process at any time before the closing.

The Voluntary Property Acquisition process was open to anyone who owns residential or commercial property in the three flood-impacted areas of the city: the Greenway Area, the Construction/Study Area and properties beyond reasonable repair in the Neighborhood Revitalization Area.

The City is no longer taking applications for this program.

Maps & Address Lists
The Cedar Rapids City Council adopted a strategy for voluntary property acquisitions in December 2008. City staff worked with a team of experts to prepare this strategy, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, Iowa State Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the River Corridor Redevelopment Plan consultant group. This strategy divides the flood-damaged properties into three specific areas, based on location, land purpose and availability of funding:

Greenway Acquisition Area – This is the unprotected area between the Cedar River and the proposed structural flood management system. The 192 properties in this area are eligible for voluntary property acquisition through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Parcels acquired through this program must remain open space forever.

Construction/Study Area – This area is identified for the potential construction of structural flood management measures, such as floodwalls and levees, including the slope of the levee, safety zone for construction and potential relocation of utilities, streets and infrastructure. The size and location of this area is based on the US Army Corps of Engineers’ experience with similar flood management projects.

There are 554 properties in this area eligible for voluntary property acquisition through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Not all properties in this area will be directly impacted by construction activities.

Neighborhood Revitalization Area (all flood-damaged neighborhoods) – Some properties in this area have been determined to be beyond reasonable repair. That means that these houses are significantly damaged and it is not financially feasible to rebuild them. Of the 6,452 parcels located in this area, 600 are estimated to be damaged beyond reasonable repair. Those properties are eligible for voluntary property acquisition through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program. 

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