One Year Later: Iowa Ave Making Full Recovery

By: Steve Nicoles, Reporter


By Steve Nicoles

IOWA CITY - Many areas of Iowa City are still trying to dig out from last year's tornado. The city itself has spent millions of dollars. And there is still work to be done.

The tornado cut a path right down the 900 block of Iowa Avenue. Rebuilding has taken its toll because this is considered a historic district. So to rebuild all the homes destroyed a year ago, property owners have to meet current housing requirements while staying consistent with the historical feel of the neighborhood. The historical preservation commission meets weekly to help home owners meet requirements. There have been some heated debates, but for the most part the work has gone smoothly. Historic Preservation Commission chair Tim Weitzel said, “It’s been very gratifying to see what citizen input can do to help keep the community growing and being vibrant."

All the work should be done by June.
The city itself hopes to be fully recovered by the end of summer.

Remember seeing firefighters saw off a traffic signal pole? The city still has to replace four signal poles. The city's clean up cost is $2.5 million. Combine that with an estimated $3.6 million in private dollars and you're looking at $6 million to recover from the tornado.

The city has issued 300 building permits since the tornado. Public Works Director Rick Fosse said, “Certainly in the months following the tornado it was a lot of clean up and a diversion away from our normal activities which put us behind on some of our routine and preventative maintenance"

Most of the city's work is done. And it should be complete by the end of the summer.

Email Steve Nicoles at

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