Letters to the Editor

Time to address vacated properties

Congratulations to the people of Cedar Rapids on the historic 10th anniversary of the 2008 flood.

The hard-work ethic and Midwest ingenuity of Iowans proved to be a winning formula for rebuilding Cedar Rapids. I wonder if any city in the United States could have outperformed us in a similar situation.

As pastor of St. Patrick Church these past eight years, I knew of over 100 families in our parish who experienced financial difficulty due to the flood.

Some of them lost their homes, their livelihoods and their parish community. I also witnessed firsthand the rebuilding of our parish facilities. We spent $2 million to $3 million in materials and labor to put our facilities back in working order.

However, nearby, we still have almost a dozen houses that have been vacant since the flood. As a city, we have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on reconstruction on both side of the river.

Yet, we still have houses that have been vacant these 10 years. A boarded-up house at 220 Fifth St. NW is within 100 feet of our parish. Is it going to take another 10 years for the city to address this issue?

How are we supposed to improve the neighborhoods on the westside if the city can’t level houses that have been abandoned 10 years? Let’s hope for some inspirational leadership. Any response on the part of the city of Cedar Rapids to this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Ivan Nienhaus

Cedar Rapids

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