Go Cedar Rapids
Go Cedar Rapids
Go Cedar Rapids
Go Cedar Rapids
Go Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids Rising

Cedar Rapids' Story of Resilience

10 Years of Rising Above

In June 2008, the Cedar River — which runs through the heart of Cedar Rapids — swelled and spilled over its banks, flooding more than ten square miles of the city. Thousands of homes were impacted as well as many businesses in the city’s core neighborhoods were inundated with water.

It was the worst natural disaster the city of Cedar Rapids had ever seen.

Through their anguish and grief, citizens of City Rapids pulled together to begin the long process of clean-up and recovery. Looking back on the last ten years, the progress is astounding.

Read More.

Events Commemorating 10 Years of Rising Above

25 Days of Caring: UWEIC Day of Caring (May 10) and Community Food Drive (through June 13)
Thursday, May 10 - Wednesday, June 13
Details: Each year, United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) hosts Day of Caring, one of the largest organized volunteer events in Cedar Rapids. On May 10, local businesses will volunteer at our community’s nonprofits and tackle their list of projects.Celebrate Day of Caring’s 25th anniversary and commemorate the 2008 flood’s 10th anniversary by following UWECI on Facebook and Instagram for their 25 Days of Caring. See before and after photos of the flood, learn how volunteers make a difference, and answer trivia questions for your chance to win prizes! In addition to volunteer projects on Day of Caring, UWECI will have a community food drive the same day at NewBo City Market. Drop off additional food donations through June 13. Learn more at uweci.org/fooddrive.


10 Year Flood Anniversary Resident Appreciation Day
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Time: 7:30 – noon
Location: Downtown Farmers Market, near 3rd Avenue and 5th Street
Details: The City of Cedar Rapids will have staff from a number of city departments on hand to share information with residents about the history of the flood, what has been done since the flood to prepare for flooding, and future flood protection plans.  The City will also have a number of fun prizes and activities, and city vehicles will be on hand for kids and adults to explore. Learn More


City Hall Tour
Tuesday, June 5 at 5:30
101 First Street SE
Learn the history of the building that now houses Cedar Rapids City Hall, and how it was restored after water filled the entire basement and first floor of this historic building in 2008.


Uptown Friday Nights at McGrath Amphitheatre Cedar Rapids featuring The Pork Tornadoes
Friday, June 8  5:30 p.m.
Location: McGrath Amphitheatre Cedar Rapids, 475 1st St SW
Details: Start your weekend off right with the Cedar Rapids Jaycees, UICCU, and The Pork Tornadoes! Gates open at 5:30 pm. Show starts at 6 pm. Rain or shine -- all summer long! Admission is just $5 at the gate for everyone ages 21 and over. 
McGrath Amphitheatre serves a dual purpose and is the first segment of the flood protection system for the west side of the river. The back wall of the serves as a levee and a wall with removable flood panels separates the facility from 1st Street.


Cedar Rapids Central Fire and Police Department Open House/Tours 
Tuesday, June 12
Time: 4 – 6 p.m.
Fire: 713 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA
PD: 505 1st St SW, Cedar Rapids, IA


Northwest Gateway & Memorial Plaza Dedication
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: O Avenue and 6th Street NW
Join City officials and neighborhood leaders for a commemorative ceremony as we honor the resiliency and recovery of the northwest neighborhood.


Epic Rebirth
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Time: 4:30 p.m. Community Showcase; 6 p.m. Live Program
Location: Veterans Memorial Building
Details: Experience live performances, connect with community resources and hear from city leaders about what’s next for Cedar Rapids. The schedule will include: A 4:30pm-Community Showcase. Live music and entertainment, along with community stations for guests to learn about achievements since 2008 and learn about upcoming events and initiatives. A 6:00pm-Live Program. Hosted by Bruce Aune and Beth Malicki, the 90 minute live broadcast will feature interview-style segments about the rebuild, system and development milestones, along with performance by local representatives from the arts, culture and entertainment sectors. Learn More


2018 Commercial Real Estate Luncheon - A decade of reinvestment following the 2008 floods
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Location: Double Tree Hilton
Details: Held on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 floods, the 2018 Commercial Real Estate Luncheon invites local leaders to discuss progress and ongoing development projects in the Corridor. Attendees will receive a copy of the CBJ's limited-edition hardcover flood recover book, "Corridor Rising," showcasing the devastation and renaissance of our region since the historic floods.

2018 Program: Regional Impact of the 2008 Floods presented by Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett

Progress and Ongoing Projects: Panel moderated by Lydia Brown, director of real estate development of Ryan Companies
Panelists: Steve Emerson, President, Aspect architecture:design
Kelly Hayworth, City Administrator, City of Coralville
Ron Knoche, Public Works Director, City of Iowa City
Rodney Lehnertz, Sr. Vice President for Finance & Operations, University of Iowa
Jeff Pomeranz, City Manager, City of Cedar Rapids

Learn More


Celebrate Mercy’s Resurgence from the 2008 Flood
Wednesday, June 13 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. 
Mercy Medical Center – Lundy Pavilion (ground floor)
Refreshments – Reflection – Recommitment
You’re invited to join Mercy Medical Center-Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, June 13 as we celebrate Mercy’s Resurgence from the flood of 2008.  Reflect with us on how the flood helped shape our enduring commitment to the community.  Following a brief reflective video and program, Sister Susan O’Connor will offer a blessing of the hands as was done ten years ago when Mercy embarked on its journey to rebuild.


C.R. Resurgence Tour
Saturday, June 16
2-5:30 p.m., with a social hour from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Arrive at the first stop (Mott Lofts) by 4 p.m. and tour sites at your own pace.
To mark the 10th anniversary of the 2008 flood, Save CR Heritage, in partnership with the city of Cedar Rapids and the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District, is hosting C.R. Resurgence, a free tour offering a rare look inside historical buildings and sites in Cedar Rapids that made a comeback after the epic flood. Arrive at the Mott Lofts, 42 Seventh Ave. SW, for a map and information between 2-4 p.m. and go to each stop at your own pace through 5:30 p.m. Hosts will be available on-site to provide information on the history of each location. Sites include Rowell Hardware; Ellis Urban Lofts; Shakespeare Garden; Theatre Cedar Rapids; Kurik House and Herda House, followed by a social hour at Lion Bridge Brewing, with food and drink available for purchase. Learn More


Bus Tours
Monday, June 18
Join City of Cedar Rapids officials for a special opportunity to learn more about permanent flood control measures taking shape in our community. Tours will highlight current and future flood protection projects, including levees in the NewBo and Czech Village Districts, pump stations, sites of future flood walls, neighborhood memorials, and more. Residents can see and ask questions about the latest measures being taken to install permanent protection on both sides of the river.
Tours are free and open to the public.

Full Schedule: Monday, June 18
Tour the Flood Control System // 9 AM
Hosted by Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler and Flood Control System Program Manager Rob Davis
See completed flood protection components up close and learn how the 7-mile system of permanent and removable walls, levees, gates, pumps and public amenities will work together to protect the City from future floods.

Tour the Water Pollution Control Facility and Flood Wall // 11 AM
Hosted by WPC Staff
The WPC flood wall is the only portion of permanent flood wall currently completed in the City’s Flood Control System. Take this rare opportunity to stand next to a wall that’s three times your height and keeps the Cedar River at bay!  While you’re along for the ride, learn how the City’s sewage is treated and sent back into the Cedar River cleaner than the river itself.

Tour the Flood Control System // 1 PM
Hosted by Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler and Flood Control System Program Manager Rob Davis
See completed flood protection components up close and learn how the 7-mile system of permanent and removable walls, levees, gates, pumps and public amenities will work together to protect the City from future floods.

Tour Historic Preservation // 3 PM
Hosted by Mark Stoffer Hunter & the History Center
Join History Center Historian Mark Stoffer Hunter as he leads a bus tour through historic neighborhoods impacted by the Flood of 2008, including New Bohemia, Czech Village, Taylor School, Kingston Village, Time Check and the Downtown and Oak Hill areas. Mark will discuss and point out highlights of what has been restored, what has been lost, and what has been newly built and developed since the great flood ten years ago.

Tour the Flood Control System // 5 PM
Hosted by Assistant City Manager Sandi Fowler and Flood Control System Program Manager Rob Davis
See completed flood protection components up close and learn how the 7-mile system of permanent and removable walls, levees, gates, pumps and public amenities will work together to protect the City from future floods.

Departure Location: The bus departs from the public parking lot on the corner of 2nd Street SE and 12th Avenue SE in NewBo, and returns to the same location following each tour. Tours last approximately 60 minutes.
RSVPs are Required to Reserve Your Seat.  Please RSVP to the tour of your choosing at citymanager@cedar-rapids.org. Seating availability is limited.


Moving Forward: Pathways to Building Community Resilience Symposium
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
DoubleTree Convention Complex, 350 First Avenue NE, Taft Room A
Hosted by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's ResilientAmerica Roundtable
This event will bring together experts, practitioners, and other stakeholders from the public, private, nonprofit, and academic communities and the general public to learn and share information relevant to building resilience to floods and other disasters in Cedar Rapids. Learn more and register at http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/ResilientAmerica/PGA_186345.


Special Projects

View a Then & Now video created by The History Center featuring photos and descriptions of hard hit areas.


Add your Flood Anniversary events here and select the category Flood Anniversary-Rising Above: https://www.gocedarrapids.com/events-calendar/submit-your-event/

Related Events