UI Talks With FEMA, Still No Word on Art Museum

By Diane Heldt, Reporter

Floodwaters inundate the University of Iowa Museum of Art Sunday, June 15, 2008 on the UI campus in Iowa City. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

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By Lauren Peikoff

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa officials had a conference call with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials this week to discuss the university’s appeal regarding the flood-damaged UI Museum of Art.

But FEMA officials gave no indication of when they might make a ruling on the UI appeal, which asks the agency to reconsider its decision to not fund replacement of the flood-damaged art museum at a new location.

“They thanked us for providing the information,” UI Spokesman Tom Moore said. “It’s entirely up to them. They will respond when they respond.”

UI officials requested the telephone hearing with FEMA to restate their arguments about why officials think FEMA should fund replacing the museum of art at a new location. The deadline for FEMA to rule on the UI appeal was September but no FEMA response has been given, and UI officials said they wanted to bring attention to the appeal and move it forward.

FEMA has ruled that the museum building was not damaged enough in the 2008 flood to pay for its replacement elsewhere. But because the university can’t insure art in that building on the Iowa River, UI officials are appealing the decision.

During the conference call Monday, UI General Counsel Carroll Reasoner requested that officials at FEMA headquarters review all of the submitted documentation and evidence and rule that the museum qualifies for replacement.

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