Downtown businesses trusting city's flood protection plan

Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 10:33 PM CDT
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The Cedar River is expected to crest at 18.3 feet Tuesday. While that could still change, it's about two and a half feet less than 2016. Little Artifacts, a shop near flood-prone areas, said it's not too worried it's going to affect them.

"I know we're not going to move everything out this time so if it comes down to it, we can pick things up off the floor. But we're not planning right now to do that," said Sherry Sealy.

Sealy has been helping out at Little House Artifacts for a few years. She was around when the 2016 flood hit Cedar Rapids. The building itself has been around a lot longer, though.

"The floors have been through three floods so I think those should be fine but anything that got wet will have to be cleaned and dried out or we'd lose it," said Sealy.

In 2016, the shop got lucky. The crest was at 21.95 feet. The HESCO barriers put into place by the city helped them stay dry.

"We moved everything out with the help from the community so we got everything moved out," said Sealy.

Other businesses in the area weren't as lucky that year and even less so in 2008. The city said they're relying on the HESCO barriers to keep doing their job this week.

"It'll be awhile before all the permanent flood protection is in place," said Cedar Rapids Public Works Director Jen Winter.

Sealy's still crossing her fingers for dry days because a lot of the shop's inventory can either mold or be ruined if hit with high waters.

"It's always a worry when you hear all this spring-fall is going to cause a lot of flooding," said Sealy. "We see the stuff in Nebraska but all we can do is trust that everything's going to hold this time as well."