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100 acres of land most affected by the 2008 flood are being revitalized by the Greenway Park project



Cedar Rapids, Iowa – There are still marks from the 2008 flood in a few areas of Cedar Rapids.

Plans are underway for 100 of the most severely damaged acres of property. A plan to increase the West bank of the Cedar River’s use as a community meeting place was approved by the city council this past week.

For cyclists and pedestrians alike, the trail on the west bank of the Cedar River is a favorite destination. Every other day, Jeanine Mortale from Iowa City takes advantage of it.

“There are a lot of trees and wildlife, and I think that’s really important for Iowa,” said Mortale.

There is trauma in this area. When the Cedar River crest grew to a height of more than 31 feet, it witnessed some of the worst of the 2008 flood. It was an experience that Mortale and the others recall clearly.

“I worked with several nurses who commuted from Cedar Rapids,” she said. “They were very affected by it, and they were sandbagging all the time. I felt a lot of concern for the Cedar Rapids citizens.”

Over 16 years later, a new roundhouse, destination park, and other community facilities may soon be built on the now-overgrown fields where residences once stood—revitalizing over 100 acres of land along the west bank of the Cedar River, with structures designed to withstand future flooding.

“We were talking to people just weeks after the flood, and they were personally impacted,” said Cedar Rapids Community Development Director. “They were personally impacted, and they still took the time to meet with city officials and talk about what they wanted for the future, and this was it.”

On this project, Pratt is one of the leads. Although it has taken more than 15 years to get here, Pratt stated that the foundation had to be laid before moving forward.

“The Greenway really is created by the flood control system,” she said. “Getting pieces of that flood control built was really the first step, and so now we’re coming in and really moving forward with the amenities.”

“It’s going to be a wonderful thing for the city because you have so many nice things down here,” said Mortale. “You have the theaters and so many nice bike trails.”

The project’s first phase will be the roundhouse. According to Pratt, some of the original roundhouse’s artifacts have been saved and may be incorporated into the new structure.