ROCK VALLEY, Iowa -- One year ago the northwest Iowa town of Rock Valley was just coming together after flood waters damaged 180 homes in the town. They were also preparing to welcome thousands of RAGBRAI riders as the launching city.
A year later, six homes are still left waiting repair. City Manager Tom Van Maanen said a year later, “the town’s doing really well.”
He said RAGBRAI was appreciated here more than most people remember.
“It energized the town a bit,” said Van Maanen. "RAGBRAI was everything we hoped it would be.”
RAGBRAI riders were able to contribute towards helping the town. That effort raised around $15,000. Lance Armstrong was in town to guest bar-tend, that helped draw contributions.
Homeowners did not qualify for FEMA federal dollars, but local fund-raising helped those who needed assistance.
The flood waters damaged the 180 homes, and three businesses. Businesses damaged were a Vet Clinic, a ready mix plant, and a garden center. Most of the damage came to basements with water backing up in sewers.
If a flood and RAGBRAI were not enough, state highway 18 through town was torn up for construction.
“It wasn’t anything that was on my radar,” said Van Maanen speaking of last-minute flooding before RAGBRAI. “I may have aged a little bit through that.”
RAGBRAI this year will depart from Sioux City on Sunday morning.