The Iowa Department of Economic Development is finalizing plans for what it intends to do with the state’s latest disaster-related infusion — $517 million — of federal Community Development Block Grant funds.
In its initial draft, the state agency proposed using $245 million of the CDBG pot to buy out flood-damaged properties in the state.
For now, the $245-million figure is a good working one for the city of Cedar Rapids, which has firmed up what part of the pot it intends to request to help the city buy out about 1,150 flood-damaged properties, reports Jennifer Pratt, the city’s development coordinator.
Pratt says the city will seek a total of $148 million in CDBG for buyouts. Of that total, $66 million will be used to purchase 554 flood-damaged properties in what is expected to be the construction zone needed to build the city’s proposed new flood-protection system. Another $82 million will buy out an estimated 600 additional properties that are defined as “beyond reasonable repair.”
Most of a group of another 192 properties, which are heavily damaged and closest to the Cedar River, will be purchased using $27 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to make way for a “greenway” along the river between the water and a new levee.
The city also is seeking funds from other parts of the $517-million CDBG pot, which will be designated for business recovery, infrastructure repair and housing rehabilitation.