More of a personal/fun/somber post… I’m in Cedar Rapids today and will be in Iowa City Sunday and Monday. Remember the 2008 flood that wiped out so much of Cedar Rapids? There’s a very informative Cedar Rapids flood driving tour to view the damage and rebuild.
This sounded like a good idea but I wanted to run it and learn more about the flood. The hotel shuttle driver was very kind and dropped me off at Ellis Blvd by the Cedar River northwest of downtown. From there, I felt somber and lucky. Here’s what the Cedar River looks like today.
I didn’t see the Time Check House at Point A, but a couple minutes into the run this house was in front of me – 15 months after the flood.
After a block of these homes, there was one that was completely redone.
Point B on the list was the Boys & Girls Club. The building still stands, but is considered close to a total loss with original three feet of water into the 2nd floor.
Just a block away are some still-abandoned homes.
Point C is the Mother Mosque. It had 10 feet of floodwater, lost a ton of items and is now fully restored. This is seven blocks from the Cedar River.
Here is one of many porta-potties that unfortunately still stand on corners.
Point D is an old-fashioned A&W drive in which is still gutted. Just down the street, there were kids playing ball.
A couple blocks away, this house was just totally destroyed.
Next door? Two abandoned homes.
Point E was the Diamond V. Mills manufacturing plant. They’re very close to the river and somehow got to be up and running in a little over a week.
Point F wasn’t far from there. It’s the Cedar Rapids Central fire station. 12 feet of water went through and a ton of equipment, files and supplies were lost.
Before the next point, I ran across the 1st Avenue bridge where a local was fishing. He stopped me and asked if I had any cigarettes. Although I do like to multitask, smoking and running are not things I choose to do simultaneously. I did ask him how high the river rose last year and he said it rose to right about the bottom of this picture.
Point G is visible in the above image. It’s the Veterans Memorial Coliseum/Cedar Rapids City Hall. Most of their damage was in the basement.
Point H is the Paramount Theatre downtown. Flood waters reached eight feet and I don’t know the current status.
Point I is Sokol Hall and from what I understand is an niche extension of the University of Iowa. I could be way wrong on this. Nonetheless, boarded up hall 15 months after the flood.
A jewelry store has a graffiti message on their boarded up business downtown. It shows how much commitment Cedar Rapids folks have.
Back to the hotel. Turns out it’s connected to the US Cellular Center, which would be awesome if there was an event there I wanted to see. No such luck. To age myself, I have been to a concert there before. Cheap Trick and Ratt back around 1987.
Overall, I’m humbled by this. These pictures don’t really show the damage this flood has done as 90% of my run was completely underwater 15 months ago. One thing is for sure, the folks in Cedar Rapids don’t give up. It’s still a great city, second in population to Des Moines.
Tomorrow morning I hope to run the remaining points J though Q. We’ll see as it’s quite a jaunt. I’m in Iowa City at 10:45am for my nephew’s baptism so timing will be a crunch.