The “Katrina” of Cedar Rapids

Until this morning, the record crest for the Cedar River through Cedar Rapids was 20 feet.

They passed that record two days ago.

Experts predict the river will finally crest today at over 33 feet. intermittently streams live their disaster news coverage. It breaks my heart to see places I’ve frequented so many times over the years when I visited Cedar Rapids. A reporter standing several blocks into downtown from the northern bank showed fish swimming up the street.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette has a huge photo on its home page of downtown under water. The photo boggles the mind.

Even worse, after the crest the water may not recede back into its banks until Tuesday or later. That means downtown will be soaked for days.

Many residential blocks are flooded too. KCRG showed video shot from a boat they piloted down 1st St. SW from the river towards the I-380. That’s the road I take from the Best Western Cooper’s Mill to the ballpark. Now the road and the neighborhood are under several feet of water.

The Best Western Cooper’s Mill is the visiting team hotel. Kernels players will stay there until they find host parents, and over the years some coaches have chosen to stay there rather than rent an apartment. Cooper’s Mill isn’t a state-of-the-art hotel, but it was a home on the road, and I swear the restaurant’s omelets alone were reason enough to get up in the morning.

If you watch the opening scenes of A Tale of Two Ballparks, a video documentary I made in 2003, the shots by the river were filmed outside Cooper’s Mill.

It’s all under water now.

I checked with the Kernels’ front office to find out if they could recommend a relief fund. For now, send donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the United Way of East Central Iowa.

I’ve contacted the Angels’ minor league affiliates and asked them to consider setting up relief funds for our Cedar Rapids friends.

For those of you who are players or players’ parents who came through Cedar Rapids, it’s time to step up and give back to the community that helped you along the way. You should call or e-mail your host parents to check on them.

This is the “Katrina” of Cedar Rapids. It will take years for them to recover. The community of Cedar Rapids has given so much over the years to help the future Angels in their quest for the big leagues. Now it’s time for us to help the community of Cedar Rapids.

News coverage:

KCRG TV — intermittent live video stream of their local news coverage.

WMT 600 AM Radio — streaming live audio almost non-stop.

Cedar Rapids Gazette — The local newspaper with disaster stories, photos, video clips, and comments posted by locals in the community.


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