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University of Iowa Museum of Art Continues Its Battle with FEMA

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Roughly two and a half years after a flood ravaged the area, the University of Iowa is still finding itself fighting an uphill battle in trying to restore its UI Museum of Art. The building it had been housed in was damaged by the swelling Iowa River during a disastrous flood in the summer of 2008. After the water level had returned to normal and damages were assessed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to help finance the repair and restoration of the building. This would have been ideal were it not for the insurance issues that arose post-flood. Insurer of the museum’s collection, Lloyd’s of London, told the museum that given the chance of another flood, they would not take the risk of offering insurance again in the museum’s current location. When the University approached FEMA last year with a request to not simply repair the building, but to move to a new, less water-adjacent area, they were denied the funds. Six months later, the University’s appeal of that decision has also been rejected, with FEMA still arguing, despite receiving information about the insurance issue, that “the UIMA suffered less than 50 percent damage and that it could be restored to use as a museum.” Still putting up a fight, the university is now planning on taking the case to both the state-level Homeland Security office as well as FEMA’s headquarters in Washington.

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