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Flood Mitigation Board Sets Rule for Flood Protection Application

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Cedar Rapids officials took another step today, as they try to put up floodwalls on both sides of the Cedar River.

After fighting with federal agencies for five years, the city now hopes a new state agency will give them the money they need.

Today the new Flood Mitigation Board met with city officials to determine how the city will apply for the money to do it.

"We've seen with the flooding over the last two weeks how important it is to have flood protection on both sides of the river,” said city council member Ann Poe.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, has paid for most of the repairs since the 2008 flood, but they won't spend money to build on the west side of the river.

Enter the new state flood mitigation board - charged with helping cities prepare against floods - it's a board so new they're still making up the rules.

"we hope to have those rules crystal clear as soon as we can so they can move forward with their own projects,” said chair of the board, Mark Schouten.

So Cedar Rapids wants to ask the board for 15 million dollars which be would be a start, but far from enough.

"Where our project is close to 300 million dollars to protect both sides of the river 7.3 miles of levees and removable walls and walls and pumping stations and gates,” said Mayor Ron Corbett of Cedar Rapids.

If the city can get the 15 million, it can leverage it with other funds like the local option sales tax.

The new board has decided instead of requiring a dollar for dollar match, they'll use a sliding scale. 

"I think the board will give the city of cedar rapids a very close attention and I would be surprised if the board did not award them funding under this program,” said Schouten.
 
The next meeting will be in July and city of Cedar Rapids is looking to submit their application in the fall to meet to January deadline.

 
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