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Two years after Davenport flood wall breach, residents encouraged to voice opinion on Mississippi River flood protection survey

Some of the efforts proposed include short-term projects, like storm sewer and pumping improvements, and long-term projects like a flood wall and raised roads.

The Davenport flood wall breach of 2019 is still fresh on the mind of Davenport Public Works Director Nicole Gleason. 

"You just never know what the weather can do," she says. "The events leading up to April 30th 2019, it was inches of rain after inches of rain after inches of rain. Mentally, you think 'That wont happen. It's not going to rain that much,' and then it does.

Two years later, the department wants the community's input on what to do now on the Davenport riverfront. The department is working with an outside agency to collect data through an online survey, listing different options in different parts of the city. 

The survey is available both online and in-person through May 4th. People are encouraged to dedicate about 45 minutes to the survey. Gleason says about 200 people have completed the survey already, and around 100 more are in the process of getting it done. 

There's some efforts that would be short-term projects, like storm sewer and pumping improvements.

"I feel like some of the pumping proposals and storm sewer proposals, anything that's really going to help us keep our staff better deployed, is going to be helpful," Gleason says.

Dee Bremmer with the Riverfront Improvement Commission says the group will work with the city and Public Works Department once the survey results come in. 

"There's a number of storm sewer projects that are just west of the downtown that I think will be very helpful in low level flooding," she says.

If the data shows people want to invest in long-term projects, like a flood wall between 4th and Gaines Street or raised streets along the riverfront, Bremmer says that will take time.

"You're talking optimistically a decade," she says. "Realistically, depending on the project, two decades if you want federal funding."

The survey is an early step in this long process. On May 11th, the public works department will present its findings to city council where they will narrow down results to form a third and final survey for the public. 

The department hopes to put together a flood protection plan to be approved by city council, based on the results of its surveys, by this Thanksgiving. 

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