The People's Tribune

Governor Signs Bill Sending $2 Million To Clarksille For Flood Control System

Clarksville scored a major victory this week as Governor Mike Parson signed off on the state budget and special items such as a dedication of $2 million for Clarksville to help secure a new flood mitigation system for the river town.

Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley is delighted the governor decided to approve the monies after years of campaigning. Smiley has visited Jefferson City numerous time to seek state money. It was a necessary first step in order to obtain federal money to complete the project.

Smiley explained how the EKO flood control system worked when Gov. Parson visited Clarksville last week. She had pieces of the temporary wall system to illustrate how easy it can be erected and taken down. She also explained to the governor that Clarksville city officials have done due diligence and examined many flood control systems since the terrible flooding in 2008 (which is now number five on the list of recorded flooding).

Mayor Smiley told The People’s Tribune the EKO system has interlocking pieces and works much like Legos. A permanent foundation is set and then the wall pieces are stored in pods until needed.

“It is the best solution for us in allowing us to remain independent,” Smiley explained. “We didn’t want anything that would obliterate the amazing view of the Mississippi River. We also wanted a system that we could set up and maintain ourselves.”

Once the foundation is in place, when flooding is predicted it will take a team of less than 10 people less than two days to set up the temporary wall. This will protect all of the businesses and residences along Front Street all the way down to the post office.

This will also allow for more time and efforts to be spent fighting flooding in areas the city was unable to assist with previously.

“It’s just better for us all the way. It will also make cleaning up after flooding much easier.”

Currently the city has utilized a method where rock is brought in by the semi truck load and dumped directly onto the streets. The rock is then covered and the sandbag walls go on top of that. Not only will this be easier to clean, that is thousands of dollars worth of materials that won’t have to be purchased.

The city has spent over $75,000 in rock and sand so far battling the flooding this year. Those expenditures were no planned. The city has brought in over 900 tons of sand and 3, 300 tons of rock.

The total price tag for the EKO flood control system is $4 million. Smiley said that she has discussed the project with individuals at the federal level and obtaining the state money was the first step.

“I plan to stick with this as long as I can and as long as Wayne is helping from heaven,” she noted of her late husband.

The president of the EKO company has visited Clarksville many times and has accompanied Smiley to discuss the project at the state and federal levels.

Rep. Jim Hansen is in the final leg of his service to the state. He noted that he has been fighting for this money for several years and would be very happy when the governor signed off on the project.

While it is a German company, EKO was first used in Nashville, Tenn., to secure the Grand Ole’ Opry facility 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.

Rep. Hansen pointed out during Gov. Parson’s visit that 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.

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.

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