CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — People in need of some help after flash flooding gathered at the Cedar Rapids Public Library Wednesday night.
The city hosted a community resource fair to connect flood victims with the support they need. Social service agencies and city departments were all accessible in one room.
It’s happening because of the heavy rains that ripped through Eastern Iowa causing flash flooding June 29 and 30. In Cedar Rapids the destructive water flooded homes, filled basements and caused foundations to crumble.
City leaders hoped the event would put people in touch with the money and help they need because some are still dealing with the mess.
“The mud? I couldn’t believe it,” Maryann Gnagy said.
Gnagy said mud washed down the street and into her yard and basement.
“Never, ever seen anything like that before,” Gnagy said.
Gnagy has her hands full. That’s why she and many others came to the resource fair with questions.
“I’d like to know if we got anything — what I can do to get somebody to clean it up,” Gnagy asked public works representatives during the resource fair.
Many people discussed issues with city engineers about the sanitary and storm sewer systems.
“I don’t think they realize how big the problem is,” said storm victim Terri Anderson.
Anderson said the basement of her home filled with about four feet of water. She hopes this event will help create change.
“I don’t know if it is going to help. At least I was able to come here and talk to somebody face to face. My name [was] put on a list. I feel that the more times that you contact them, that you call them, that they realize that there is a problem,” Anderson said.
Public works collected names and data. Engineers said they would be investigating problem areas.
They also will be considering a question of their own, as they move forward.
“Engineers can design bigger systems to capture that water and route it through the storm sewer systems, but the question is do you want to build a system that big for an event that occurs so infrequently,” said Public Works Director David Elgin.
For now, though, many people just want to return to life as they knew it before the storm.
“I think I’ll just wait. There’s not much we can do,” Gnagy said.
The city said as it investigate the issues that caused the flooding, it’ll be working on finding solutions. Engineers said those options will eventually be presented to the neighborhoods and the city council.
If you weren’t able to attend tonight’s event, the city said you can check out its website for assistance or phone numbers you might need.
l Comments: 319-398-8268; firstname.lastname@example.org