The City of Davenport is wasting no time making sure their flooding plans are ready in case the Mississippi River decides to leave its banks.

“We are exercising our floodplain, which right now would just be making sure everyone’s aware of the various steps to take at different levels of flooding, and we’re doing preventative maintenance to our pumps,” said Public Works Director Nicole Gleason. “We’re exercising our gates, we’re in the midst of training employees on how to set up the flood wall, fill sandbags, things like that.”

Davenport is fortunate with its flooding because unlike other natural disasters, there’s time to prepare.

“With the Mississippi River specifically, and flooding related to snow melt, we generally do have adequate notice,” said Gleason. “It does take around two to three days to set up the temporary flood walls, so we generally do have at least a week’s notice. I would say on the big tipping point is, if it’s melt with rain, then we’d like to err on the side of caution and make sure we’re setting up a little early. Right now, all of our supervisors that we have over the Streets division have been here through multiple floods, so we have a really good continuity plan as far as setting up that that wall.”

That includes making sure baseball fans can get into Modern Woodmen Park to cheer on the River Bandits while staying dry.

“We have a temporary flood system that that does get set up around the ballpark starting around 16 feet and then we kind of just slowly shut it until we get to where it’s fully enclosed, in which case we do have to build a temporary ramp into the facility,” Gleason said.

The city set up a website to help residents prepare.

“We just encourage people to seek that information out and become aware, it just makes things a lot easier for everyone,” said Gleason.

They have two community meetings scheduled to help property owners who are in the floodplain prepare for possible flooding. The first meeting will be held on Monday, March 20 at 4:30 p.m. at the Police Department Community Room, 416 N. Harrison Street. The second meeting takes place on Wednesday, March 22 at 11 a.m. at the Davenport Council Chambers, 226 W. Fourth Street. Discussion topics will include how flood barriers will affect property owners, private property owners’ responsibilities when it comes to flood preparedness and assistance with planning.

Commuters and others who travel through downtown Davenport can sign up for alerts about the latest flood conditions and road detours. Gleason hopes people will heed the advice of professionals and stay away if flood waters make an appearance in the Quad Cities.

“It becomes really difficult when we have a lot of people who try to drive in and around the flood wall,” Gleason said. “We will be blocking off roads so they can’t. Believe it or not, people will try to come kayak right up next to the wall and we don’t feel like that’s a safe thing to do.”