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Downtown Businesses Brace for Possible Flooding

Updated: Monday, June 3 2013, 08:33 AM CDT

CEDAR RAPIDS (CBS 2/ FOX 28)--It’s hard to recognize the New Bohemia district through the rows of sandbags, concrete slabs and orange cones. 
 “It looks like a war zone again,” said Jeff Melsha, owner of Little Bohemia bar and restaurant.

 As flood protection lines the outside of downtown businesses, inside business owners like Melsha aren’t taking any chances of having a repeat of the floods of 2008.
 “We moved everything out of the basement,” Melsha said.

“We learned our lesson the last time,” he said. “In 2008, we were out of business for two and a half years.”

He’s kept his kitchen closed for the past three days, using it to store equipment and merchandise.

But each day of not serving food is two to three thousand dollars down the drain.

“This is scary that it could happen again,” Melsha said.

The city has nearly a dozen trucks circling the neighborhood, making sure storm plugs and more than 60 concrete barriers are secure.

But even with that protection, businesses are taking matters into their own hands.

Newbo Books has completely cleared out.

A few doors down, Parlor City installed valves to keep sewer water from flooding their basement.

 “It will let water drain down if we had any water in here,” said owner Nick Jelinek.

They’ve also elevated $30,000 worth of merchandise just in case.
“We’re still open,” Jelinek said. “We’ll stay open ‘til the water gets us out. But there’s a lot at stake here.”

Downtown Businesses Brace for Possible Flooding

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