Palo reflects, takes stock of progress 10 years after flood

Palo City Hall

As you drive down the streets of Palo, you would have no idea what took place on every single road in town ten years ago, a massive and devastating flood. Block after block, surrounded by the Cedar River. It was never supposed to happen. But in 2008, it just kept raining.

"We decided to evacuate everybody, the whole town. We just didn't know how high it was going to get." Said Tricia Dix, now the City Administrator Clerk in Palo. Dix suffered heavy damage at her own home, while she was also working to get others in her community back into theirs.

"You just dig in and do what you can do to sustain and the emergency aspect of it and to try and get people back in their homes as fast as they can." Said Dix. "So I don't think it really hit me until a month to a couple of months after and then it really finally hit."

Across town at Palo Savings Bank, they are preparing to say farewell to the building they called home before and after the flood. The bank will soon move into a new facility right next to the new city hall and community center in Palo.

Beth Rathje is the Vice President of the bank. She recalls evacuating their operation to nearby Atkins, while half of her staff was trying to protect their own homes. "So the other half were putting in long hours getting the bank moved and getting them set up and giving the employees who were affected time to deal with their own stuff."

One of the popular stops for residents is the Palo Mini Mart, destroyed by the flood. Owners there managed to rebuild and reopen in just six weeks. A pattern in the now growing community. A new city hall, a new city water system and, most importantly, a new river gauge aiming to provide better river forecasts not only for Palo but downstream in Cedar Rapids.

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