Cedar Rapids 2008 Flood: A City Growing
Ten years ago the City of Cedar Rapids experienced one of the harshest natural disasters in our city’s history. The Cedar River, which runs through downtown Cedar Rapids, crested to a record level of 31 feet. The brutal flood waters covered 14% of the city and displaced more than 10,000 Cedar Rapidians from their homes and businesses. While our hearts are still heavy from the damages the June 2008 flood caused, June 13th, 2018, will be a day of appreciation — because our city is moving forward.
Since the 2008 flood, Cedar Rapids has been reborn. Our city has come together to rebuild and revitalize our downtown area business district where flooding hit the hardest. This growth includes the remodeling of the U.S. Cellular Center and the building of the McGrath Amphitheatre. (These two venues alone bring in more than 200 events per year for our community.) The Paramount Theatre, one of only 300 remaining movie palaces in the United States, and the economic re-birth of the Czech Village / New Bohemia Main Street District were also rebuilt. We have also been able to grow our resources with the rebuilding and relocation of the National Czech and Slovak Museum, the Cedar Rapids Public Library and Cedar Rapids Central Fire Station. We are extremely fortunate to have a strong community to support these growth efforts.
In 2016, our community was threatened by another flood that crested at 22 feet. Our city hall leaders and city staff brought strength to our community by utilizing some of the flood control and flood protection tools that we invested in since the flood of 2008. Damages were limited with the protection that was provided by the city, but not all were so lucky. While there were flood barriers and more than 400,000 sandbags in place, many businesses suffered because they had to shut down their businesses to prepare for and clean up from the flooding that did occur. Most businesses were fortunate and able to re-open, but a handful did not after the 2016 flood.
On Wednesday, June 13th, The Gazette and KCRG TV-9 are proud to host an event they call “Epic Rebirth: A Celebration of Achievement” for our community to recap the last ten years of growth since the 2008 flood. The event will take place at the Veterans Memorial Building on Mays Island. It will feature multiple businesses in the Community Showcase at 4:30 p.m. and there will also be live music and entertainment. At 6:30 p.m. there will be a 90-minute live program hosted by Bruce Aune and Beth Malicki from KCRG TV-9. This program will feature interview segments as well as performance pieces that will reflect back on the flooding from ten years ago. Our city’s current status in flood relief efforts will be a major topic at this event and all 2008 flood-related events, but future flood protection is also high on the priority list for local leaders. Our city will be working for the next five to ten years to continue moving forward with flood protection plans. This planning will (hopefully) prevent or lessen any future flooding that may occur in our great city.
As we reflect, we are thankful for what Cedar Rapids has achieved since the flooding and continue to look forward to our city’s growth.
Wired Production Group is proud to be a part of the Cedar Rapids community and the provider of AV production services for this upcoming special event. We’d like to say thank you to The Gazette and KCRG TV-9 for hosting this event for our community.