Listening to Larry today was heartbreaking. I met Larry at the city’s latest “dog and pony” show- another “flood forum” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Larry is a widowed senior who lost his home of 47 years in Czech Village when the flood of 2008 hit Cedar Rapids. I was amazed at Larry’s bubbly personality. His particular coping style was to ‘joke’ about the flood. He was pretty funny too cause he even made me laugh. There was a moment when he joked about his living situation and I couldn’t laugh. I knew all too well that Larry wasn’t only one struggling in with affordable housing. Larry owned his home, his wife died there and his dog is buried in the back yard. Now Larry lives like a gypsy in his camper and in his son’s basement. He told me that he parks his camper where ever he can and sometimes stays with his son. According to the city he couldn’t repair his house because he was in a ‘construction zone’.
Virgil is a lifelong resident of the Time Check neighborhood at 60 years of age is staying with a relative. Virgil was renting to own his own home from a landlord on Ellis Boulevard NW when the flood waters chased him away. I met Virgil on Facebook and have talked to him on several occasions via telephone. He calls me every once in a while to see if there is anyone in the area who would sell him their house on contract because he just wants to ‘come home’.
Roger and his mother Janice lived on 6th Street NW in a family home. Janice thought she could die in this house like her father did. She is now paying double the mortgage and her son Roger, a painter by trade, hasn’t picked up a paintbrush since losing all of his equipment in the floods when the police told him he HAD to leave his work truck behind on June 11, 2008. Their house has sits limbo due to the lines the city drew in the name of the United States Army Corps of Engineers as a ‘construction zone’ for a flood wall that was never approved by the Corps. Janice has an emotional connection with the house and the neighborhood and can’t bear to give it up. Janice says she will ‘never be able to retire’ and that they were essentially required to buy a new house to qualify for Jumpstart funding. Oh and the infamous Block by Block ‘they won’t help either’.
Lavern and Charlie lost 8 family homes in the flood, including the home they grew up in on 5th Street NW the city told them that they couldn’t rebuild the house their elderly mother lived in because it’s on the ‘wrong side of the street’. In Cedar Rapids, if you live on the ‘wrong side of the street’ you will be any and all help/funding to repair your flood damaged home. This is all in the name of the “United States Army Corps of Engineers” and their flood wall that didn’t exist!
Lonn lost his business and the contents in the basement of his home and cannot get any legal advice. Tiny was taking care of his mother when the flood hit but because she fell ill when they were making repairs to the house she ended up in a nursing home. Both men are losing faith in mankind because neither can seem to get any help from anyone!
Some think this is for our own good and that we shouldn’t be in a flooded areas but they don’t know the whole story! They don’t know that it took more than 100 years to build this community. The city literally hired outsiders to come in and tell them who WE were!
The Former City Council created blighted areas in Cedar Rapids and invited Congress and other officials to come tour the flood damaged city. The people who want to pass this aggressive ‘flood plan’ are those who will profit from it! After speaking with a man from The United States Army Corps of Engineers I learned that they are in no way in support of the city’s ‘Preferred Plan’. a plan rushed through by city officials who hired high-priced consultants during a time when the people of this city were trying to muck and gut their homes!
Please help us stop the destruction of our quaint Midwest City and write lawmakers today to put a end to the “Preferred Plan” and the injustices taking place in the heartland! These people worked their entire lives and deserve to be treated with respect!JUST SAY NO TO POSH RIVERFRONT PLANS THAT DESTROY HUNDRED YEAR OLD NEIGHBORHOODS! SAY NO TO HIGH COST CONSULTANTS AND EMPOWER AMERICANS BY HELPING US STOP THIS RIVERFRONT PLAN! STAND UP FOR FAMILIES AND GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE KNOWN ACROSS THE WORLD FOR THEIR KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY! IOWANS! http://grassley.senate.gov/contact.cfm http://harkin.senate.gov/contact.cfm http://loebsack.house.gov/contactform/ http://www.tylerolson.org/content.asp?ID=3432