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Cedar Rapids negotiating $10M deal to buy land for flood control around Cedar Lake
Land needed to build flood control levee as part of the city’s $750M project
CEDAR RAPIDS — The city of Cedar Rapids is negotiating a deal to purchase land at up to $10 million from Rick and Marsha Stickle to build a flood control levee around Cedar Lake, with additional land providing for a flood plain.
The Cedar Rapids City Council voted Tuesday to OK the city’s purchase of the property at and around 550 Stickle Dr. NE and Cedar Lake, as well as easement rights around Union Pacific’s north rail yard and the lake, for a segment of the $750 million permanent flood control system in city.
Land purchase for flood control
The city of Cedar Rapids will purchase land from Rick Stickle for no more than $10 million to build a segment of the flood control system around Cedar Lake.
Source: City of Cedar Rapids
Rob Davis, city flood control program manager, said the expense was not entirely unanticipated in calculating the $750 million cost of system, so this sum won’t necessarily drive up the price tag another $10 million.
Public Works Director Bob Hammond said Cedar Rapids is pursuing a whole acquisition as opposed to acquiring land piece-by-piece given the complexities of the arrangement.
“It would be very difficult to move forward with this without working through condemnation on each and every one of these” pieces of land, Hammond said.
Davis said the owner proposed an acquisition of the entire parcel, and there’s a benefit to that to the city because it’s an additional flood plain area.
Hammond said the property still is being appraised before the city determines what amount should be paid and the deal is fully ironed out.
Plus, Hammond told The Gazette the Stickles had requested additional information before the deal is finalized. He said he could not provide more details as he did not recall specifically what the Stickles asked about. There was not a set timeline for when the deal would be finalized.
Rick Stickle, owner of Midwest Third Party Logistics, served prison time from 2006 to 2008 after he was convicted of orchestrating the dumping of 442 tons of diesel-contaminated grain in the South China Sea and conspiring to impede a U.S. Coast Guard investigation. The Gazette previously reported that in a 2009 email interview, Stickle said he went to prison “not because of doing something wrong, but rather because of inept and dishonest employees.”
Under the city’s flood control system master plan, which was approved after the devastating flood of 2008 to protect the city from rising Cedar River waters, the north end of the system ties into high ground around Interstate 380 and J Avenue NE.
The approximately 30 acres owned by the Stickles at 550 Stickle Dr. NE, and the vacant land between there and the lake, is north of Quaker Oats.
“The first primary thing is we need to close the system without a gap, and so we've got to come through to the river through this property once we get through the lake,” Davis said.
The city acquired approximately 33 acres of property north of Quaker Oats, extending toward McLoud Run Park, from the Hoth estate in recent years, Davis said, so this purchase would add to that.
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