More Demolitions Coming, But Cedar Rapids Getting Closer to the End

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

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By Dave Franzman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — More than four and a half years after the devastating flood of 2008, the city of Cedar Rapids is still demolishing damaged property acquired in buyouts. But the “to do” list is growing shorter.

The next round of commercial property demolitions that will go before the Cedar Rapids City Council next month numbers only 18 now.

One demolition that may start any day now is not on that list. It’s the old Cedar Rapids Animal Control Shelter located just off Old River Road. The contractor has permission to tear the buildings down as soon as all contaminated material is removed. Workers were in the process of checking buildings on Wednesday, although actual destruction of the ruined buildings has not started.

But while the animal shelter is a fairly well-known building, it’s not as visible as some that may begin coming down as soon as April. The “visible” list would certainly include the former Blimpie Subs and Jiffy Lube buildings in the 100 block of First Avenue N.W. Another very visible structure coming down soon is an office and apartment complex just across the street at 100 First St S.W.

Ron Bentley, who owns Bentley’s Watch Repair in the same area said seeing flood damaged buildings that aren’t getting repaired for nearly five years is long enough.

“A lot of these buildings are old and in need of repair so it will be kind of nice to get them torn down and things cleaned up around here,” Bentley said.

The old Central Fire Station must also come down as part of the FEMA flood recovery contract to build a new main fire station for the city. But demolition work for that building isn’t scheduled yet.

Still, as people watch more and more flood damaged buildings disappear, some may start to see it as the closing of a chapter.

John Riggs, flood recovery program manager for the city, said “I think every time we start new demolitions people notice. Just with the equipment and activity in the area and it is becoming evident more and more is getting done by the city.”

Riggs said it’s not possible yet to forecast the final demolition yet for either commercial or residential property. But the day is coming.

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