Flood 2016

Flood caused $500,000 in damages to city parks, Cedar Rapids officials say

Ellis Boat Harbor sustained most damage

One boathouse sank in Ellis Harbor during recent flooding of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
One boathouse sank in Ellis Harbor during recent flooding of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The 2016 flood caused an estimated $500,000 in damages to the city’s parks and recreation facilities and grounds, according to city documents.

More than 20 properties sustained damage with Ellis Boat Harbor by far the worst off, said Sven Leff, parks and recreation director. Electricity runs from meters on 30 tower structures to individual boat houses and many were damaged, Leff said.

“Twenty of 30 towers came in contact with river water and must be replaced,” Leff said. “That’s why it is so costly.”

Leff will provide an update about damages to the Cedar Rapids Parks, Waterways & Recreation Commission Meeting, which meets today at 7:30 a.m. at the City Services Center Five Seasons Conference Room, 500 15th Ave. SW.

The cost for Ellis Harbor damage alone could be up to $300,000, Leff said. The costs were not part of the annual budget, so it’s not clear from where the money is going to come, he said.


Some money could be shifted from another Ellis Harbor project in the capital improvement budget, he said.

City officials plan to have most of the damages fixed within three to six months. The goal to repair Ellis Harbor is also spring, but if it is more expensive or technical than expected it could take longer, Leff said. Ellis Boat Harbor is back in use, the boats just don’t have electricity right now, he said.


The city hopes to meet with Alliant Energy officials to discuss Ellis Harbor mitigation options, such as elevating the meters or testing wireless meters, he said.

“Is there a better way so we don’t have to go through this again?” Leff asked.

The next most costly damage is fencing along the Sac and Fox Trail, Cheyenne Dog Park and Prairie Park Fishery. That is estimated at $15,000 to $20,000. At Usher’s Ferry, 15 of 26 buildings were touched by water, and four or five need repairs totaling about $2,000, Leff said.

The Jones Golf Course took on water at 16 of 18 holes, including 13 greens that were submerged. The biggest hit at the golf course is lost revenue from being shutdown, according to Leff.

The course is closed for the season and should be reopened for nine-hole play in the spring and the full 18 holes should reopen by summer.

The McGrath Amphitheatre at 475 First Street SW sustained erosion to gravel event pads as well as irrigation and sod damage from the sand-filled HESCO barriers.

Some repairs are being handled in house, while others need to be contracted to a private vendor. Any contract of $50,000 or more must be approved by City Council, Leff said.

Insurance covers some properties, while others are not covered, and it did not appear Ellis Harbor is covered by insurance, Leff said.


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Other damages include to Seminole Valley Farm, Manhattan Park, Robbins Park, Ellis Park, Mohawk Park, Cedar Lake Park, May’s Island Plaza, Five Seasons Plaza, Riverfront West Parks, Sunner Memorial Park, Riverside Park and Cedar River Trail.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com



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