Clinton Flood Protection Project Dedication in 1984

From: The Clinton Herald; June 5, 1981, P. 12
Transcribed by a Clinton County IaGenWeb volunteer.

Dedication Saturday.
Dedication of the eight-mile Clinton flood control project will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Riverview Park area near the City of Clinton Showboat.

In the event of rain the ceremony will be held in the Clinton Masonic Temple at 5th Avenue South and First Street.

The dedication ceremony will be preceded at 10 a.m. by a reception for out-of-town visitors and other guests. Gateway Chamber of Commerce “Ambassadors” will assist.

Harry N. Cook, president of the National Waterways Conference, Inc., a nationally recognized authority on inland navigation, will be the principal speaker.

Clark A. Depue III will be chairman, and Myron Haradon will serve as master of ceremonies. Brig. Gen. Scott B. Smith will dedicate the project to the City of Clinton with Mayor Dwain T. Walters accepting. Lt. Col. J. F. Manzi, acting Rock Island District engineer, will introduce Smith.

About 200 guests will attend a luncheon in Ericksen Community Center, after the dedication ceremony. Col. Frederick W. Mueller Jr., former district engineer and now North Central Division engineer, will speak after the luncheon. William J. “Steamboat” Bill Petersen, noted Mississippi River historian, will present Cook with an autographed copy of his latest book, “Towboating On the Mississippi.”

The mechanics by which river and harbor and flood control projects such as that in Clinton are dedicated is a complicated and lengthy one.
It was Feb. 23, 1966, less than a year after the record Mississippi River flood hit Clinton, that Mayor Harold Domsalla instituted the first of 18 steps which led to the multi-million dollar construction project.

Domsalla wrote to Col. Howard B. Coffman, district engineer. The letter set forth the problems Clinton experienced in the 1965 flood and the tremendous damage suffered. A similar letter was dated May 1, 1968, and addressed to the Iowa Natural Resources Council which later gave its approval.

The process which led to final approval included a public hearing, a favorable report from the district engineer, the board of engineers for river and harbors, referral to the Board of Rivers and Harbors and consideration by both house of Congress, and approval of financing.

The last steps included advertisement for bids, award of the contract to the low bidder and the start of the work.

The final step is acceptance by the local government which will occur Saturday.

The Clinton Herald; June 5, 1981, P. 12
8 Miles of levee.
Stretching 8.1 miles along the Mississippi River from Turtle Creek on the north to Mill Creek on the south and along the east bank of Mill Creek is the massive flood protection project built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The cost to the federal government is estimated at $26.4 million. To that is added the City of Clinton’s share which includes a bond issue of $2.5 million plus a credit for right of way over such public grounds as Riverview Park.

In addition to the levee, the project includes 4,330 feet of concrete floodwall, six pumping stations, seven closure structures, five major street crossings, 17,320 feet of new sewer and 23 gatewells.

There also are major structures at the inlet and outlet of Joyce’s Slough, the raising of Riverview Drive, elevating the City of Clinton Showboat, landscaping and beautification.

The first cost estimate for Clinton flood protection was $6,630,000 made in 1961. The City of Clinton’s share then was set at $510,000.

By 1966 the estimate rose to $10,610,000 of which $9.2 million would be the federal share. The effects of inflation were noted in 1971, when cost estimates rose to $16 million with about $2 million covered by the municipality. Two years later the cost was estimated at $19,210,000 with the city’s share at $2,710,000.

F. A. Moser and Associates, Inc., of Waterloo, won the first contract awarded by the Rock Island District, Corps of Engineers, for the Clinton flood control project.

The waterloo firm submitted the low bid of $1,344,698 for the first section of levee built along the east bank of Mill Creek from U.S. 30 – 67 to Harts Mill Road.

Its purpose to protect the southwest part of Clinton from Mississippi River flood water backing into Manufacturing Meadows through a drainage ditch. The bid was submitted June 18, 1974. Work was not begun until after the symbolic ground breaking ceremony July 7 in Riverview Park.

The Clinton Herald; June 8, 1981, P. 1
After 15 years of work.
Flood project dedicated.
By Lee F. White

“By coming to terms with nature, you have chosen for Clinton a destiny which your children and grandchildren will thank you for,” Harry N. Cook said Saturday.

Cook, president of the National Waterways Conference, spoke at dedication ceremonies for the Clinton flood control project.

Cook added, “Let us hope, indeed, let us resolve to make sure, that they also remember the lesson of the river as you have learned it. That lesson is that the river gives and the river takes away.”

Cook described the Mississippi as “indeed the patriarch of our rivers.’

He noted that it drains half the land of the contiguous United States and commented, “In its endless flow to the sea, it offers many gifts in America but it also takes away.

“This river courses through what has come to be known as America’s heartland,” Cook said. “Along the Mississippi and its tributaries lie the most of America’s vast grain fields.

“In the valley of the Mississippi system there lies farm land capable not only to feed America, but extra food to feed a hungry world. This gift helps strengthen our balance of payments and it helps assure peace in the world.”

Cook said, “American grain generated $28.7 billion in foreign exchange last year.”

He said, “Half of America’s population lives within 50 miles of a navigable waterway. Because waterway transportation saves us freight fuel and other resources, it also saves us money.”
“Inland rivers and the Great Lakes waterway accounts for 18 percent of America’s intercity domestic ton miles of freight movement. However, water carrier revenues account for only two percent of America’s domestic intercity freight bill. “Waterway transportation is very important to the local economy,” Cook said.

Concerning the 1965 record flood, Cook observed, it was apparent that what local citizenry did then was not enough, so local officials joined with Congressman John Culver to support flood project legislation.

He said by 1974 ground was broken and the comprehensive flood control project was under way.

“Now it is done,” he said. “I must hand it to you. From the identification of the problem in 1965 until realization of the solution, it took you only 15 years and a few months.” Cook said the average time between initial survey and actual completion of such projects now is said to be about 25 years.

In reference to navigable waterways, Cook said that “by providing navigation on the Mississippi other waterway systems, the federal government has stimulated the economic development of interior regions, generated industrial development in river valleys and boosted the farm economy.”

He said because of river barges, farmers have generally been able to buy their fertilizer and tractor fuel at somewhat lower costs and sell their crops at somewhat higher prices.
Commenting that advocates of budgetary reform are now urging that the federal government relinquish its key role in water resources management programs Cook said, “we certainly need budgetary reforms” but wondered if it would not be false economy to turn flood control over to individual states.

Cook said that Clinton project cost about $30 million, including $2.5 million of local funds. He said that had the levee not been guilt best estimates are that Clinton would have lost more than $42 million, calculated in 1981 dollars, over the project life.

During the dedication ceremony, Brig. Gen. Scott B. Smith, North Central Division engineer, unveiled the monument placed near the City of Clinton Showboat entrance and dedicated to the flood fighters of 1965.

Smith said, “As we look about us it is evident that much thought and planning has been given to provide not only an effective flood protection project but also to promote development of a beautiful and unique frontage on the Mississippi River.

“Many innovative features such as the scenic drive atop the levee, the showboat on the riverfront, the small boat harbor and the memorials, terraces and walks, could not have been realized without the continuing involvement and financial contribution of the City of Clinton.”

Smith described the Clinton project as “an outstanding example of what can be accomplished when imagination, enthusiasm and a close working relationship exists between all parties concerned.”

“The cooperation of Mayor Dwain Walters and past mayors was an indispensable factor in the successful accomplishment of the project,” Smith said.

Speaking of Walters, Smith said “I am happy to unveil this plaque and to present it to you and to the people of Clinton to mark completion of the Clinton flood control project.”

He noted the plaque dedicates the project to the citizens of Clinton, especially those who fought past floods, and to community leaders “who provided the guidance and support which have made this project a reality.”

Walters expressed appreciation to the Corps of Engineers for the work and dedication which have made the project possible.

The dedication program was preceded by a concert by the Clinton Nee Hi Drum and Bugle Corps. The invocation was given by the Rev. Peter Anderson of Zion Lutheran Church.

Presentation of the colors was by the Clinton unit of the Iowa National Guard and the benediction was by the Rev. L. D. Soens of St. Mary’s Church. Clark A. Depue III, chairman of the sponsoring Citizen Committee, opened the program with introductions.

Among the guests was Congressman Tom Tauke who spoke about the importance of the flood control project to the City of Clinton. He praised the Corps and local officials who helped make the project possible.

The dedication program was preceded by a reception at the Clinton Boat Club.

Nearly 200 attended a luncheon in the Ericksen Center after the dedication where William J. “Steamboat Bill” Petersen, former executive director of the Iowa Historical Society, presented Cook with an autographed copy of his book, “Towboating on the Mississippi” which was a gift from the Citizens Committee.

Petersen also presented Cook with a copy of an earlier book, “Steamboating on the Mississippi.”

Col. Frederick H. Mueller Jr., recently named deputy division engineer and assigned to work on development of a report being developed by the Upper Mississippi River Basin Committee, made what probably was his final Clinton appearance. He has been succeeded temporarily by Lt. Joseph H. Manzi Jr., acting engineer.

Mueller said “I add my accolades to all of you for your efforts which made the job of your construction agent, the Corps of Engineers, much easier.

Mueller praised the cooperation of City Engineer Eugene Niebuhr and Richard Johnson, area engineer for the corps, who was in charge of the project. He said the Clinton project “not only will serve you for an indefinite period but will stand as evidence of what can be done through cooperation.”

The bronze plaque on the dedication monument was designed by John Adamski, of the Rock Island District Environmental Analysis Section. The base was constructed by local 772 of the Brotherhood of Carpenters. Contributing their efforts were Donald Hansen, Steve Strunk, Keith Luckritz and Business Representative Eugene Judge.

The Citizens Committee was composed of Depue, chairman, Eugene A. Andersen, Mark E. Barnes, Richard N. Beals, Brenda J. Blanchard, William H. Blankenberg, Richard Gustafson, Myron R. Haradon, Bonnie J. Hartman, Eugene J. Judge, Eugene F. Niebuhr, Joan W. Richeson, Mayor Walters and Lee F. White.