The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

City of Cedar Rapids loans University of Iowa empty sandbags as Iowa River floods

In City Hall, Tom Podzimek on June 6, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Council member Tom Podzimek reports that the city of Cedar Rapids helped out the University of Iowa this week by loaning the university 3,000 empty sandbags as the Iowa River was rising and readying to flood in Iowa City.

The city of Cedar Rapids also offered to provide the university with “sweeper sand,” the sand picked up off city streets this spring from its use on city streets this winter, according to an internal City Hall e-mail made public by Podzimek.

The university didn’t need the sand.

In the e-mail, Craig Hanson, the city of Cedar Rapids’ public works maintenance manager, reported that the city had 120,000 empty sand bags on hand. He called the sharing with the University of Iowa “being a good neighbor.”

In the e-mails shared by Podzimek, City Manager Jim Prosser applauds Hanson for his decision and “excellent preparations” to have sand bags on hand to loan out.

Prosser called it “an example of the fact that so much of our best work goes unnoticed because we avoid problems.”


  1. There they go again, wasting my money! Do they think my sand bags grow on trees? It is ridiculous that the City hands my sand bags out willy-nilly. What is wrong with them?

    If you are going to loan my sand bags to another then at least charge them the maximum interest rate allowed by law (21%?). Thereafter, they should boost their yield by selling the loan to Wall Street. Wall Street would than perform their financial voodoo. I heard Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are experts at this.

    What they should have done is sold my sand bags. They could have charged 10 times what they paid for them. They sure messed this up! You have to strike when the iron is hot. You have to make hay when the sun shines. You have to go for the jugular.

    If they outsourced the management of my sand bags to private enterprise like I told them to do for the last 20 years then the City’s financial concerns would be over. I know what you are going to say, “we shouldn’t charge in this instant because it is an emergency”. Blah-Blah-Blah. Someone always has a sob story.

    Seriously, the City should be applauded. Well done!

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