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

Czech/Slovak museum and library now expects water in the building

In City Hall on June 11, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Gail Naughton, president/CEO of the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library, on Tuesday was optimistic that the riverfront building would remain dry as the Cedar River marched toward a predicted crest of 22.5 feet. The crest now is expected at 24.5 feet, and at noon Wednesday, Naughton said she now is preparing for flood water to enter the building.

She noted Tuesday that the building, opened in 1995, is built without basement to handle a 500-year flood.

“We are preparing for water in the building,” she said at noon Wednesday. That preparation involves packing up and moving collections in the museum, materials from the library and inventory from the museum store, she said.

The museum would place sandbags around doors, but sandbags do only so much, she said.

Asked if the city might attempt to raise the river levee outside the museum, she wasn’t sure the city could or would. “They’ve got a lot of holes in the dike,” she said, referring to challenges citywide with the rising waters.

Naughton said most of the flooring inside the museum is made of material she called “pretty indestructible.” The collections and materials inside the library were the items of concern, she said.

The city did devote a lot of resources Tuesday to the museum area and Czech Village area. However, it is one of the areas where some evacuations now have occurred. Naughton said the main street in the village, 16th Avenue SW, does not now have water on it.

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