The People's Tribune

Governor Examines Flood Conditions In Clarksville

Mayor Urges Passage Of Funding To Help Purchase Flood Control System

Clarksville has been battling flood conditions for two months now and has already spent over $75,000.

Following a rough weekend that saw a new record set in Clarksville with the crest at 37.1-feet on June 2 (second-highest recorded), the town was visited by Governor Mike Parson on Monday.

The governor wanted to see the flood conditions and hear from local officials. Mayor JoAnne Smiley was more than prepared with a pitch to obtain $2 million in funding for a flood control system. She also had pieces of the temporary flood wall to show the governor to demonstrate how it would work.

The EKO flood control system works a lot like Legos. A permanent foundation is set. When flood conditions are predicted, the wall can be erected in less than two days by less than 10 people.

The complete installation and purchase of the system is $4 million. The city has examined every type of flood wall system and this is superior in every way.

It can be taken down and stored in its own pod (which means a new building is not needed for storage). This temporary system means the city can continue to promote the most beautiful unobstructed views of the Mississippi River.

More importantly, the city would no longer need to purchase large amounts of materials that are temporary such as rock and sand. There would also not be the need for so much volunteer efforts.

“It would make us more independent,” she explained. “It is the best system by far.”

The state legislature has already approved a bill dedicating $2 million to the project – it just needs the signature of the governor to become reality.

Smiley asked if Gov. Parson could commit to signing off on the budget item, but he declined to announce a decision. He promised that he would take a hard look at it and make a decision soon.

Smiley pointed out the president of EKO has visited Clarksville many times and has helped her present the plans at the state level.

While it is a German company, it was first used in Nashville, Tenn., to secure the Grand Ole’ Opry and has been utilized in North Dakota and on the east coast following the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The company now manufactures in the United States.

The system has a total price tag of $4 million. The city is unable to obtain federal funding until state monies have been established. Mayor Smiley said she felt confident that if the $2 million is approved, getting the remaining financing will not be a problem.

The city has already spent over $75,000 out of an already stretched budget. These are expenditures that were not planned.

Rep. Jim Hansen pointed out during the Governor’s visit this is not the first time that money has been requested for this project and the price tag only increases. He pointed out that system is an investment that will more than pay for itself in a very short period of time.

Gov. Parson asked if the city could loan the system to other cities in crisis when not in use.

Mayor Smiley pointed out that a permanent foundation is required and it isn’t something the city would be fond of, but that it could be possible.

This year’s flood now occupies four spots in the top ten recorded floods for Clarksville. The highest is still 37.73 in 1993, but it was 37.1-feet on Sunday to claim the second spot. The 36.76-feet crest of April 24, 1973 is number three and the 36.71-foot crest on May 30 is now number four.

The flood of 2008 has moved down to number five on the list at 36.70-feet. Right behind that is the 35.93-foot crest on May 4. The 34.08-foot crest of April 1 of this year is number 10.

So far the city has brought in over 900 tons of sand, 3,300 tons of rock among the materials. Numerous families have had to evacuate their homes.

The post office and bank are now under water and there are questions about how much more the buildings can take without a dependable flood control system.

It was also pointed out that over 3,500 meals have been served at the United Methodist Church and volunteers there have more than 1,500 hours invested.

The city has received assistance from the National Guard, AmeriCorps, Northeast Correctional Center, the Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center and students from three different school districts.

Find more about the flood control system at www.ekofloodusa.com.

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