Iowa City approves levee plan


Danforth Chapel on the grounds of the University of Iowa is surrounded by floodwaters from the Iowa River June 16, 2008. Photo by Greg Henshall / FEMA (Wikimedia Commons)

Iowa City will accept $15.7 million in state money to build three levees that aim to protect the area from future flooding.

But some fear the levees may raise water levels downstream, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports.

The council voted unanimously to accept $15.7 million in state-administered federal funding for all three levees, although several council members expressed regret that it would affect nine remaining residents on the river side of Taft Speedway.

By accepting the Community Development Block Grant funding, the city is committing to building permanent earthen levees at three sites:

• An $11.7 million levee along Taft Speedway and No Name Road in northern Iowa City that would protect the 92 condominiums in the Idyllwild neighborhood, which represent a tax base of $20 million to $22 million.

• A $4 million levee along the east side of the river from Highway 6 to the Crandic Railroad, protecting the Gilbert Street commercial area south of Highway 6 and the Gilbert Street arterial from future flooding.

• Across the river, a $4.2 million west-side levee from McCollister Boulevard to the Crandic Railroad to protect the 190 homes in the Baculis and Thatcher mobile-home parks, as well as the Commercial Court area.

Council member Mike Wright called the Taft and No Name levee “the better of two less-than-optimal choices.”