COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — It's one of the more popular places and the ideal spot for festivals in the summer, but for the River's Edge Park in Council Bluffs, the future is uncertain after damage from the floods.
The park has been closed off and on since March. Flood waters submerged the park for weeks at time, and that water damage has delayed repairs.
"We have not been able to assess the underground irrigation system or the electrical system or the access road coming in to the park, we don't have a full cost but we're anticipating potentially another $600 - $900k worth of damage," said Vincent Martorello, Parks & Recreation Director for Council Bluffs.
Restoration was scheduled for earlier this year, but the continuous flood waters prevented that. The city has determined around $160k-$200k in damages so far, and say they've been in contact with FEMA to fund those repairs. They may not be able to make any repairs this year, and could be delayed next year. "What we're hearing is that the water levels may be like how they were this past spring," said Martorello.
Some festivals canceled their events this year due to the damage to the park. Taco Fest was one of them, as they say they're considering all options in case the park isn't repaired in time for their next event. "We may need to look at how we host large events differently and look at ways the park can be recovered a little bit more quickly," said Martorello.
Raising the land on the park could be an option, as is letting the areas along the banks to just be a natural part of the river. The city says they are confident they will repair the park, they just don't know when. "We intent to have the community to be able to use this park one way or the other, we're just now in the process of really trying to access the best way to accomplish that," said Martorello.
The city says they hope to start repairs in April of next year, and the work would last around a month and a half.