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Coralville Continues Mitigation on Flood Anniversary

CORALVILLE, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Saturday marks the six year anniversary of the crest of the flood in Coralville and Iowa City, where flood mitigation and recovery projects are underway at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and Coralville. 
Coralville has spent $64 million on flood mitigation projects since 2009, installing 10 storm water pump stations, as well as several berms and dams, along the Iowa River and Clear and Biscuit Creeks to keep potential flood waters from pooling. 
The city has $10 million in projects yet to be completed, which is comforting news for some local business owners in one of the city's hardest hit areas: the Coralville strip. 
"It sucked. It was a mess. It was a stinking mess," said The Vine general manager Dan Wilkerson, about the flood of 2008. 
Now, it's hard to imagine the restaurant's patio as anything but relaxing, but the 2008 flood water line drawn on the windows in a reminder that, six years ago, diners on The Vine's patio would have been completely underwater. 
Wilkerson said it was people like his customers who got The Vine growing again. 
"It was amazing how many people we had coming in, bringing sandwiches to us, people stopping in and helping out, you know, wherever you could. I was really impressed with the way everybody helped out everybody else," he said. 
After floods in both 1993 and 2008, Wilkerson trusts that Coralville's flood mitigation system will work. 
"Each time after those floods, businesses trusted in the city to provide protection, and they came back, they reinvested in this area. So we want to make sure they stay here," said Coralville city engineer Dan Holderness. 
That means adding more protection to the mix. 
Next year, Coralville will raise Fifth Street above Biscuit Creek. In 2016 and 2017, the city will build a series of removable and permanent flood walls along Clear Creek, between First Avenue and Highway 6. 
"We feel really good about where we're at, we'll just be even more excited in 2017 when we're done," Holderness said. 
Holderness said Coralville has been very agressive about pursuing funds for the projects, much of it coming from the Iowa Flood Mitigation Sales Tax. 
"I see it as a good thing. Right now, once they get this whole thing done, if it goes over there, it'll be a real bad flood," Wilkerson said. 
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