City officials last night estimated the cost to clean up and repair or replace flood-damaged city buildings and other infrastructure at $504 million.
In addition, the officials estimated that it would cost another $810 million to protect the city against future floods through an assortment of mitigation efforts like levees, floodwalls, a possible reservoir and property buyouts.
City Manager Jim Prosser called the numbers “staggering.”
He spoke in billions: half a billion dollars for cleanup, repair and replacement; $1.3 billion in total including future flood protection.
Here in Iowa City, damage to the University was recently estimated at almost a quarter of a billion dollars, and it will likely reach close to that figure by the time the final tallies are finished. Damage to the city properties isn’t included in that total. Damage to agriculture in the midwest has been estimated at 8 billion dollars–half of that in Iowa. And in some areas, clean-up haven’t even begun; the river just officially dropped below flood stage only a few days ago. Many roads remain closed due to either flood waters or the damage said waters inflicted, and in areas where cleanup has begun, the landscape is awash with dumpsters and buildings stripped down to the studs. And some of the flooded houses likely won’t ever be repaired:
Increasingly clear, though, Bell said, is that the city is apt to see many houses sitting empty because they have sustained too much damage and are too costly to repair.
She reported that 51 percent of those who have registered here for flood relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are over the age of 60. Some of those people owned their houses outright, didn’t have flood insurance and live on fixed incomes.
The specter of the Great Flood of ’08 will cast a pall over this area for a long time to come…