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

Archive for July 15th, 2009|Daily archive page

Round 2 of demos start next week: 58 on the list with paperwork still out on another 12; 70 structures came down in a first round

In City Hall on July 15, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Next week, the city of Cedar Rapids will begin demolishing 58 more structures damaged in the flood of June 2008.

These are structures, most of which are homes, that the city has concluded pose a public-safety danger and need to come down. The city will seek reimbursement for the costs from the Federal Emergency Managment Agency because of the public-safety risk.

Another 12 properties may be added to the 58 in what is a second round of demolitions.

The city already has taken down 70 structures that were the worst of the worst damaged.

In total, the city plans to buy out some 1,300 properties, and the majority of those are expected to be demolished. Those demolished to date and those in this new round of demolitions are among those 1,300 or so properties.

The city has contracted with DW Zinser Co. of Walford, Iowa, to take care of the new round of demolitions. Work will start at 7 a.m. Tuesday with the structure at 1211 6th St. NW.

Others on the new list:

1312 4TH ST NW
1427 4TH ST NW
1657 8TH ST NW
305 G AVE NW
327 G AVE NW
402 I AVE NW
1206 3RD ST NW
1602 4TH ST NW
1664 1ST ST NW
306 N AVE NW
1007 3RD ST SW
1034 8TH ST NW
1106 2ND ST SE
1108 6TH ST NW
1122 I AVE NW
1217 4TH ST SE
1223 9TH ST NW
1233 10TH ST NW
1234 N ST SW
1306 9TH ST NW
1320 Ellis Blvd NW
1323 K ST SW
1428 2ND ST SW
1450 2ND ST SE
1501 J ST SW
1645 9TH ST NW
1702 2ND ST SW
2120 C ST SW
1906 C ST SW
217 7TH AVE SW
316 6TH ST SW
321 G AVE NW
411 6TH ST SW
427 G AVE NW
435 G AVE NW
622 5TH AVE SW
717 O AVE NW
72 18TH AVE SW
77 22ND AVE SW
81 18TH AVE SW
81 22ND AVE SW
816 8TH ST NW
826 6TH ST SE
1009 10TH ST NW
52 19TH AVE SW
821 4TH ST NW
814 L ST SW
1332 9th St NW
1211 6th St NW
1227 5th St SE
2207 D St SW
807 5th Ave SW
415 7th Ave SW


City Hall has firmed up what it expects to seek for some 1,300 flood-disaster buyouts: $148 million in CDBG funds to go with an expected $27 million in FEMA money

In City Hall, Floods on July 15, 2009 at 2:50 pm

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.

Flood-damaged Grant Wood window at the Veterans Memorial Building is coming out for repairs; entrusted to a Davenport firm owned by a disabled Vietnam War vet

In City Hall, Veterans Memorial Commission on July 15, 2009 at 10:12 am

The flood-damaged, Grant Wood-designed window is coming out of the Veterans Memorial Building this week, each of its 58 stained-glass panels to be crated and driven to a studio in Davenport for repair.

The restoration work on the window, put in place in 1929, will take up to 34 weeks to complete at a cost of $147,000.

There may be additional costs to repair or replace the window’s wooden frame and to replace safety glass protecting both sides of the historic window, reports Mike Jager, the city’s veterans memorial director.

Glass Heritage LLC of Davenport bested four other design firms — including ones in Philadephia, Chicago and Kansas City — to win the job of fixing Grant Wood’s window.

John Watts, one of three founding owners of Glass Heritage, is a Vietnam War veteran who in his day has wrestled with the war effects of Agent Orange exposure and post traumatic stress disorder, he reports.

Because he is a veteran, Watts says the Veterans Memorial Building’s window — which features a huge image of a rising angel of peace “welcoming all veterans home” and also depicts soldiers from the nation’s six major wars through World War I — has special meaning to him.

“We are acutely aware that this is a one-of-a-kind piece,” says Watts. “Are we nervous about it? We’re nervous about every piece of glass we touch. If we weren’t, we wouldn’t be good.”

Watts says Grant Wood’s devotion to the land is reflected in the texture of the paint on the stained-glass window.

He says, too, that there is no question that the June 2008 flood damaged the window, causing bowing and some cracking in some of the 1,000 or more pieces of stained glass in the window.

Nonetheless, he says the window overall is in “decent shape” for its 80-year age.

“We’re just going to take it and give it a new life,” Watts says.

In the restoration, the cost of which a city insurance policy will cover, the city’s Jager says there is some thought be given to leaving damage in place in one small section of the window as a reminder of the flood.

Watts, 60, says he is originally from New York City. His life eventually took him to the Quad Cities, where he spent some years as director of operations at The Mark of the Quad Cities. Ten years ago, he decided to spend all his time working on stained glass, and he left The Mark to open his own business and store in Davenport with two other partners. He’s been working in stained glass for 28 years, he says.

Watts calls the work on fixing the Grant Wood window “meticulous.” He calls the window “amazing.”