New Flood Measures Put Some at Ease

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- The NewBo district in southeast Cedar Rapids remains one of the lower spots along the Cedar River. But residents and businesses there are feeling a little more confident about September flooding concerns this time due to recent flood control additions by the city.

A sign marking the Sinclair Levee in the NewBo district of Cedar Rapids. Residents say this level, finished last fall, is one main reason they are more confident about river levels this September.

In September of 2016, the city successfully fought off the second highest crest of the Cedar River ever with a $10-million system of temporary flood protection including HESCO barriers. But some businesses in the lower part of NewBo were outside the protective line of barriers and sustained significant damage.

The Sinclair Levee, completed in the fall of 2017, wasn’t available to help fight off flooding back in 2016. But it is now. And it’s one of the main reasons the latest Cedar River forecasts have residents feeling a bit more confident.

Tornados Pub and Grub was one of the handful of businesses on the “wet” side of flood protection in NewBo in 2016. General manager Tom Slaughter II isn’t as worried now due to the changes made since the last flood scare in 2016.

“Seeing that levee and that trail over there how high it is, it gives us confidence. And the detention area and the pumping stations they have do so as well,” he said.

The city pumping stations are intended to control water backing up into the sanitary sewer systems and coming up through floor drains. That was one of the first problems encountered in NewBo basements in September of 2016.

Steve Shriver, who owns businesses both in NewBo and Czech Village, says he’s pretty confident the changes will add protection. But confidence can only go so far without some proof.

“A lot of the systems haven’t been challenged. We haven’t had a scare like this. So it all depends on how high the water is going, if all the systems work and if it all comes together,” Shriver said.

Shriver says even though businesses in the area are confident the changes will help, some are taking precautions. That includes putting furnishings in basements higher up so any water seeping in floor drains won’t cause problems.