Iowa Flood Victims Now Dealing with Vandalism

March 2, 2009

Residents in the flood-ravaged Sherwood Park neighborhood in Waterloo say signs painted on their homes saying their homes weren’t abandoned hasn’t deterred vandals from further damaging their homes.

The home were damaged when the Cedar River poured over its banks last summer. Residents are still displaced and want the city to do more to protect what’s left of their homes until they decide if they will rebuild.

“The flood didn’t do that,” said Tom Daniels, a homeowner who surveyed broken windows and a swastika painted on the siding of his neighbor’s vacant home. “Over there in that house, they found some hammers and beat the walls inside so hard that it knocked the siding off on the outside.”

He said a lot of houses need to be torn down.

“But there’s a lot of people who do want to rebuild. The police just aren’t patrolling down here anymore, and we need them now even more,” Daniels said.

Only a couple of people still live in the neighborhood and Councilman Harold Getty said police will begin more patrols in the area that he represents.

“We finally got some lights back on the poles where there weren’t any before,” he said.

“I don’t know what else to do,” he added. “What we need is for FEMA to get done so they can make a decision and get on with it.”

Police Capt. John Beckman said the department has given extra attention to Sherwood Park.

“The officers, as time permits, are going down there to check on things, but it’s kind of a sparsely populated area,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can given the amount of area we have to cover and the amount of officers we have to cover it with.”

Only 17 calls for service have been recorded in Sherwood Park since June. Only six of those involved theft, burglary and vandalism.

Daniels returned from vacation last June to find the river running through his house while his car was submerged, despite being parked up a hill.

He has decided to stay and rebuild, despite having construction materials and tools stolen.

“I like it down here,” he said. “We’re going to try it again.”


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,

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