Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014
Grand Tower Discusses Damaged Levee
JACKSON COUNTY -- The levee that protects the town of Grand Tower from the Big Muddy River is in bad shape. There's a big hole in one section. But federal funding is no longer available to pay for a fix.
The choices are limited; completely fixing the levee carries a price tag of more than $1 million--money the community just doesn't have. A passionate group concerned about the predicament met to discuss the problem at City Hall Monday night.
"Only thing is we're protecting our homes, we're together on this," explained Mayor Mike Ellet.
He says time is of the essence.
"The river's down, but we've gotta prepare, gotta get those little things in line, and get the help we can get. We're gonna have to do it ourselves," Ellet added.
Leaders and residents discussed everything, from partial repairs to replace a pipe that's an immediate danger, to the full $1.6 million needed to bring the entire levee up to par.
"We'll fix it somehow, someway," Ellet said.
Jackson County commissioners suggested an intergovernmental appropriation, moving money from the county to the town, to help pay for some of the repairs.
Residents say it's not a matter of if, but when the river will flood Grand Tower. Many, like Sandi Hudson, aren't sure exactly where to turn.
"There are no options. Bottom line, it's us, and we have to sink or swim. We will swim," Hudson said.
She's called the area home for 27 years, and while they face a daunting challenge, she remains hopeful.
"I'm not going nowhere, no matter what I'm not going anywhere," added Hudson.
She says the community is small, but mighty.
"We don't have millions of people in our community, but we matter. That's the bottom line. Every single person matters," Hudson said.
Residents worry they have a matter of weeks to do something. They say once the water level rises in the spring, it'll be too late. Leaders expect to decide their next steps this week.
Wind: 8 MPH
Humidity: 71 %