In April of 2015 the City of Burlington was awarded $26.2 million from the Iowa Flood Mitigation Board to construct flood control measures in downtown Burlington. Between 2016 and 2033 Burlington will receive this money in incremental payments from the State of Iowa starting with $275,873 in 2016, increasing to $2.75 million in 2032 before dropping down to $1.1 million in 2033 as shown in the chart on the right
This is part of a larger $64.2 million dollar project aimed at improving water quality and reducing the impact of flooding in Burlington. In order to receive the $26.2 million in flood mitigation funds, Burlington has to provide matching funds making up approximately 60% of the total project cost. The Flood Mitigation Board agreed to count past sewer and water system work as part of the City’s match, as well as future sewer work which the City is obligated to do over the next 20 years due to regulations regarding combined sewers. The pie chart shows the breakdown of the overall project.
This means that Burlington taxpayers face no additional taxes from the flood mitigation project (beyond what is needed for the previously planned sewer work).
The Downtown Burlington Flood Project has been split into nine phases, with work phased over time to account for the incremental nature of the funding source. Phases I-IV involve sewer and water system work that have either already been completed or are in the process of being completed. The first flood mitigation phase is Phase V, and construction will start in 2017 right after Steamboat Days. The table to the right shows the planned phases and timing- flood mitigation phases are highlighted in blue.
Phase V will focus on the area between the port and auditorium directly adjacent to the riverfront, Phase VI will focus on creating a tieback wall along Market Street as well as a stormwater pumping station, Phase VI will focus on a tieback wall on 3rd Street (initially planned on Market Street as well as a stormwater pumping station on Valley Street, Phase IX will focus on protections for the Depot and Wastewater Treatment Plant. The graphic on the left shows the planned flood mitigation phases and their general geographic locations in Burlington.
The project, in addition to alleviating perennial flooding concerns, has the potential to greatly impact the look at the atmosphere of downtown Burlington. The primary intent of this project is to reduce damages from flooding and the secondary intent is to improve Burlington’s riverfront and downtown space. To accomplish both of these, the City has hired consultants to design the flood features as well as any additional riverfront or downtown amenities. Public meetings will be held for each phase of construction to gather input, develop ideas, and refine construction designs. Design of Phase V will start in early 2016. Check the Burlington Community Development Department website for information on public meetings and plan progress.