Cedar Falls city officials hope construction on a new flood levee to protect the downtown business district can begin by the end of this year or early 2018.

According to Mayor Jim Brown, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given the go-ahead for the $6.6 million project. The corps' approval, in essence, gives the city permission to raise the downtown flood levee by three feet, Brown said in a press release.

Last week, the Cedar Falls city council gave approval to swap funds with the city of Dubuque for the remaining flood mitigation dollars available for the project, ahead of a state-wide July 1st deadline. The Dubuque city council also approved the agreement.

Over the past five years, Cedar Falls city officials have structured programs and worked with the state of Iowa and a number of private companies to get the project underway, Brown said.

Over the coming weeks, several public meetings will be held to discuss and plan the project before the city council approves it.

In the news release, Brown indicated that raising the levee addresses only a portion of the flood concerns in Cedar Falls.

"While this a great step forward in protecting Cedar Falls' downtown assets, there's more work to be done in northern Cedar Falls."