116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
City Hall's plan to build flood protection for the Sun Valley Neighborhood will take more time to allow for public comment and for the city to sort out just how much protection from Indian Creek the neighborhood wants and needs.
In April, the City Council approved the use of $1 million in revenue from the city's local-option sales tax for flood recovery to build a berm along Cottage Grove Parkway SE to protect the Sun Valley neighborhood against repeated threats of flooding from Indian Creek.
The neighborhood has been asking for protection since 2002, when the creek caused extensive damage to the neighborhood.
On Thursday, Rob Davis, the city's engineering operations manager, reported to the council's Flood Recovery Committee that the city needs to slow down the planned project to assess the ramifications of a berm for properties across Indian Creek from Sun Valley and properties upstream and downstream.
In addition, he said the city needs to decide if it wants to protect the neighborhood to the 100-year flood level, the 500-year flood level or to level of the highest the water has gotten here.
More substantial protection likely will require the purchase of some property, which could slow the project down by six to 12 months, he said.
As a result, Davis said it may be best to phase in the project so protection to the 100-year flood level is put in place while the city purchases additional property for more substantial protection.
Davis said the city would hold a public meeting on the project in July, will work with the Army Corps of Engineers on design and then will seek a construction permit. Construction could start by midsummer 2014 with the expectation of having some flood protection in place before the spring of 2015, he said.
In April, the council also decided to use some of the remaining revenue from the city's local-option sales tax, which expires on June 30, 2014, to finish up work on the city's riverfront amphitheater, to build a permanent berm at Ellis Lane and to clean out the Vinton Ditch so rainwater doesn't back up out of it.
Davis said the work at Ellis Lane and the Vinton Ditch should be complete by spring. The work at the amphitheater involves a trail section that connects the amphitheater to a new park along Diagonal Drive SW, which has been named for fallen Cedar Rapids police officer Bret Sunner. The trail section will be in place in the spring, though the amphitheater, which also has been built as a levee, will have a ribbon-cutting at the end of summer.