Iowa trail repairs delayed as federal agency freezes funding
Sep. 14, 2017
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Repairs to a nature trail in Iowa have been delayed after the Federal Emergency Management Agency put a hold on a funding request.
FEMA's decision to halt the $380,000 request comes in the wake of severe damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported . The western U.S. is also seeking federal disaster aid to combat wildfires.
Blackhawk County Conservation Director Mike Hendrickson said the county was notified of the hold Friday. Hendrickson said the decision is disappointing, but that it's not a surprise that only critical needs are receiving funding at this time.
Portions of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail were damaged when the Cedar River overflowed in September 2016. An area near Gilbertville has been closed due to flood damage, while a portion in La Porte City is closed because of an unsafe bridge.
The county became eligible for federal funds to repair public infrastructure after a disaster declaration by President Barack Obama. The county received money to repair several parks, but it's also seeking mitigation funds to rebuild and reinforce the elevated trail to prevent future washouts.
The trail runs 52 miles from Evansdale to northern Cedar Rapids. It's maintained by Black Hawk and Linn counties.
Conservation staff is planning to discuss trail repair options Monday.
"We don't feel we can go another year with a 150-foot hole in this trail," Hendrickson said.
Waterloo officials said they haven't received a similar notification from FEMA. Waterloo Leisure Services has requested federal aid to help repair a skate park that was damaged in the 2016 flood.
Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com