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Flood Mitigation Board Approves $264 Million Flood Protection Funds

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- The city of Cedar Rapids received some good news on Wednesday when city officials were awarded $264 million from the state Flood Mitigation Project in Des Moines.

Over the next 20 years, the money -- redirected state dollars from the growth in sales tax revenue -- will all go to flood protection efforts on both sides of the river.

"First of all, it's an answer to all of the wishes that we had that there would be flood protection for both sides of the river," said Northwest Neighborhood Neighbors Association president Linda Seger.

As construction crews work to put in a foundation just down the street from the association on the old A&W lot, Seger said she is hopeful that the money will bring even more developers to the northwest side of town.

She said Ellis Boulevard has endless potential.

"I think we're a destination in the city that brings another depth to this whole four quadrants that were hit directly by the flood," she said.

And the entire city will be safer, according to the plans.

The proposed system includes:
6.24 miles of permanent and removable levees and flood walls11 pump stations21 roadway and railroad gates
Flood prone bridge improvementsThe design for a second river crossing  Outgoing city council member Don Karr said he wants to see the city get input from neighbors on how those plans will roll out.

"I think that's going to be huge because it's going to affect their lives and their children's lives and their grand-children's lives for the rest of their lives, and I think that citizen input is important," Karr said.

Karr gave Mayor Ron Corbett credit for helping to create the idea for funding this flood protection. The Flood Mitigation Project will redirect the growth in sales tax dollars back to these projects in cities all across the state, including Iowa City, Coralville, and Dubuque.

In Cedar Rapids, the system will protect flood prone areas to the 2008 flood levels. Corbett said, it's been a long road worth traveling.

"It's just been a great team, a lot of passionate people that care about this community, and the state recognized that, and I think that's why they gave us our full award today," Corbett said.

The city applied for the flood protection dollars last month.

To see the city's full application, go to
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