Mad Creek Flood Project Finished - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Mad Creek Flood Project Finished

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Muscatine is celebrating the upgrade of its Mad Creek levee system.

Originally built in the 1960's, it was last upgraded in the 80's.

The Army Corps of Engineers spent three years and nine million dollars raising the levee by two feet.

It also built new floodgates along the bridges over the creek.

Muscatine's mayor says it should help prevent the flood-prone creek from overwhelming part of the city.

"I can remember more than once in standing where I am standing right now, I'd probably be blowing bubbles before I'd succumb to the water," says Mayor DeWayne Hopkins.

The levee improvement brings more than just expanded flood protection.

Its construction convinced HNI to build a new facility, adding new jobs and protecting existing ones.

It also brings a greater sense of security to a family-owned small engine repair shop in the same area.

"The intersection flooded and we had 18 inches of water in the building," says Danny's Service owner Steve Honts.

He's worked in the family business all his life. Fixing small engines and hoping he doesn't have to relive the flood of 1965.

"My dad and my brother were down and saved most everything, put everything up, but it was a mess to clean up afterwards yes," says Honts.

That kind of flooding hasn't happened to his shop since. Still, Honts thinks the Corps improvements are good ones.

"The old flood gate took 24 hours to install and the new one can be slid across the street in just a matter of minutes, and that's a big advantage."

The HNI corporation sits right next to Honts' shop. Its CEO says the company chose to build a new 20 million dollar facility because of the levee improvements.

"This manufacturing complex is in the middle of a Mississippi flood plain, and for us to make the investment here, we needed additional assurance that the probability of funding was reduced," says HNI CEO Stan Askren.

He says the investment will create about 50 new jobs in Muscatine, and protect the jobs already in place.

"It is a job preservation as well because it allows us to be more competitive and compete better in the market, which means we're able to protect the jobs we have."

Protection for businesses both large and small.

"It's worked well for us, this levee gives us additional protection and I think that's a good thing for everybody involved."

The federal government paid 65 percent of the Mad Creek project costs.

The city of Muscatine paid the remaining 35 percent.