Friday, July 6, 2018

We need to stop building in floodplains

I'm a long-time supporter of jail alternatives and crisis intervention training and programming. In meeting after meeting, I have been supportive of additional funding for jail alternatives and crisis intervention. I supported buying a building over two years ago for crisis intervention and I would have had already had it opened there or in other buildings with a sobering unit, crisis stabilization, mobile crisis and low barrier shelter.

In the end the current proposal is to buy more land than necessary, build a brand new building and do all that in the floodplain. I vowed long ago (in the aftermath of the 1993 and even more so the 2008 flood) that government should stop building on land that floods. I also think individuals should stop building in floodways, but that is another story. We do not learn our lessons. With climate change, the Iowa River will have a monster flood again and it will be worse than ever. They will tell you this problem can be fixed with fill dirt. I happen to think filling in what should be wetlands is part of the problem with our state. We must restore flood plains and let the rivers flood. We shouldn't be increasing fill in floodplains.

We should lead by not allowing more fill in the floodplains and by not putting vital programs on flood land. Unless someone finds a fix for climate change and monster storms, this land and any expensive new buildings will flood someday.

I voted no twice to buy this flood land and will do so again on final vote. I very much believe the County should be a major funder of crisis intervention programming, but I do think the building can be done more affordably, quicker and out of floodplains. I want to invest in programming for this new program, not expensive new buildings that will flood. This land is a bad and expensive deal all the way around.

Photos are from the 2008 flood: