Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014
Grand Tower Plans Meeting to Address Levee Concerns
GRAND TOWER -- A Jackson County community considers the worst as village leaders prepare to share the latest on its failing levee system.
The village of Grand Tower is hoping to pull together what little resources it has and fix its failing levee system. It's a battle the community has been fighting on it's own for some time now.
Mayor Mike Ellet spent Saturday afternoon examining the Big Muddy levee and says he's not going to sugar coat anything. The levee is in terrible shape, but the village has pulled through before and Ellet is confident it'll make it again.
Slides along the Big Muddy levee are just some of the problems Grand Tower faces.
"Some of them are like 50 footers, others are 150 foot," describes Ellet.
The recent rain and snow is taking a toll on the levee. It's a situation the mayor says they've dealt with before, but if the river gets too high, this time will be different.
"We're going to sleep with both eyes open this year when it gets up," he says.
Last Jun,e a 60-inch pipe collapsed, leaving a massive hole in the levee.
"If the river gets really extremely high, no, it's not going to hold," says Ellet. "It don't take a rocket scientist to figure that out."
The village has been raising money for the $1 million repair and was hoping to use funds from a 1994 county bond referendum. However, federal law won't issue bonds past seven years.
"There's no use crying over spilled milk," says Ellet. "It didn't happen. Let's move on to other alternatives."
From sandbagging, to evacuating, the mayor plans to hold a meeting Monday night to talk about the options.
"It's going to be a bad situation if we don't stay on top of it, and that's exactly what we're going to do."
Resident Roy Worthen says, "The people need to get behind him and support him on the things that he needs to get done."
Roy and his wife Rose built their home along the levee 45 years ago. They didn't leave when many evacuated for the flood of 1993, and they don't plan on leaving any time soon.
"It happens, you know. You're just used to the river coming up," insists Roy. "But with the locks leaking the water back through, that's going to be the biggest concern."
Mayor Ellet encourages the public to attend Monday's meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Grand Tower Village Hall.
Wind: 6 MPH
Humidity: 76 %