Government

Cedar Rapids flood system to honor 2 residents

Monuments to be added atop Sinclair levee

The trail along the top of the Sinclair levee near the NewBo District in Cedar Rapids, shown here when it opened in December, will be getting new monuments paying tribute to two influential residents and also the monuments that had been in Masaryk Park. The City Council on Tuesday approved the amenities and also formally approved realigning the flood control wall system around Cedar Lake.  (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The trail along the top of the Sinclair levee near the NewBo District in Cedar Rapids, shown here when it opened in December, will be getting new monuments paying tribute to two influential residents and also the monuments that had been in Masaryk Park. The City Council on Tuesday approved the amenities and also formally approved realigning the flood control wall system around Cedar Lake. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Monuments will be put along the Cedar Rapids’ flood control system to pay tribute to two of the city’s influential residents.

The City Council on Tuesday approved lining a trail along the Sinclair levee south of the NewBo District with monuments to Ed Kuba and Lee Osborn.

Kuba was a leader in the city’s Czech community and a longtime funeral home director. Osborn was a longtime city park official.

“We are creating a kind of a walking historical trail on top of the levee,” said Rob Davis, the Cedar Rapids flood control manager.

The council approved the estimated $180,000 project during its Tuesday meeting. The project would begin as early as February and be completed by June.

Monuments that had been removed from the Masaryk Park to make way for the flood control system also will be relocated along the trail.

A plaza and memorial benches also will be placed there, Davis said.

Czech Village levee

The City Council also approved the next major phase of flood construction — a levee in Czech Village.

The estimated $5 million construction project includes a levee from 16th Avenue to Bowling Street SW, a trail on top of the levee, a parking lot to access trails and a future kayak launch, and a detention pond near Bowling Street.

Work could begin as soon as December, with completion projected in August 2020.

Both projects would be paid for with Iowa flood mitigation grants.

FLOOD PLAN

Council members also formalized long anticipated alignment changes to the flood control master plans to add increased protection and durability.

At the north end of the system, the flood wall now is to wrap around Cedar Lake, offering protection to an additional 86 homes, businesses, Coe College and UnityPoint St. Luke’s Hospital.

At the south end, the system would alter slightly near Otis Road SE to allow the Cargill plant to continue operations in the event of high water.

The north end change adds approximately $13 million to the cost, while the south end change is a negligible cost difference, city officials have said.

However, they have said, the additional cost for the north end piece previously had been factored into the $750 million, 20-year price tag.

“This highlights the kind of work that will continue to happen,” said City Council member Tyler Olson, head of the flood control committee.

“Even though the federal money has been identified, and state and local, there still is a lot of work to do to finalize each of the alignments as we go,” he said. “In this case, we get to provide a lot more protection basically for the same price.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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