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City receives flood-mitigation state grant

BY REBECCA MORIN | DECEMBER 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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Development in Iowa City’s Riverfront Crossings District may soon pick up pace after the city received a state grant.

“The grant will be used for the demolition of the old plant and cover some initial site work, which consists of a very sizable wetland,” said Rick Fosse, the director of the city’s Public Works.

“Fortunately, the demolition was something that could be delayed because we left it as an independent project until we found a source for it.”

Iowa City received an $8.5 million flood-mitigation state grant to demolish the North Wastewater Treatment Facility, 1000 S. Clinton St. The plant was damaged in the 2008 flood.

The South Wastewater Plant, 4366 Napoleon St. S.E., will become the main plant through an expansion project to centralize operations at that site.

With the completion of the south plant’s expansion project in April 2014, Davidson said the city will start demolition to the north plant in fall 2014 and will also clean 2 feet below the land’s surface to help create the wetland.

“It enables us to do is get serious about the regional park,” said Jeff Davidson, the director of the city’s Planning and Community Development. “Nobody’s going to want to live in a viewing of wastewater.”

Iowa City has nine flood-mitigation projects, which totals to roughly $162.3 million. The city couldn’t have completed the projects without grants state and federal grants, Fosse said.

“That’s more to afford than we can locally,” Fosse said. “We put together several state and national grants, and this is one of the last pieces.”

Davidson said without extra funding, city officials would have had to go before the Iowa City City Council to vote on the project.

“We didn’t have any funding for that project before the grant came through,” Davidson said. “What we were going to have to do is go to the City Council to do this project instead of something else.”

Ben Clark, the city’s special project’s administrator, said the demolition was originally part of the full expansion of the south facility; however, because of a lack of funding, it was made into a separate project.

“The original scope of the project included expansion of the south plant and demolition of the north plant,” Clark said. “Not enough funds were initially available, so the scope changed to only include expanding the south plant and taking the north plant off line.”

Before the plant can be demolished, the city will check for any salvageable material within the plant.

“A lot of electrical and mechanical equipment has salvageable value, and we want to get as much of that before we demolish the building,” Fosse said. “That’s an added step before we can do the demolition, because the plant clearly had some salvage component.”

City Councilor Terry Dickens said the grant was helpful for officials to complete the city’s long-range plan.

“It’s part of the long-range plan to turn it into a wetlands park,” he said. “So I think it’s a win-win for Iowa City.”


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