It’s only March, and the Mississippi River corridor has already seen significant flooding.
Mayors from cities along the river spent part of the week in Washington D.C., including Davenport’s Frank Klipsch, Rock Island’s Mike Thoms, and Riverdale’s Mike Bawden.
They gave Congress a $7.8-billion plan asking for investments in infrastructure.
Mayor Klipsch is the co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative representing 88 mayors.
“The Mississippi River, even though it’s not a road, it’s a tremendous way of transporting grain across our country,” says Klipsch. “It needs to be viewed equally about the importance of infrastructure and transportation it provides, as well as providing clean drinking water to 20 million people a day.”
The river mayors want more federal support to help with flood prevention and recovery after the water recedes.
Davenport already has a plan in place to deal with flooding – those HESCO barriers you see lining River Drive.
Front Street Brewery co-owner Tim Baldwin says, that temporary system allows them to keep business open.
“We’re robust midwesterners and get used to this stuff,” he says. “Downtown Davenport flooding is just the norm.”
Baldwin doesn’t see a need for an expensive permanent wall.
“Our business is on the river, the restaurant and the brewery,” says Baldwin. “We have an unobstructed view of the river yearround. The idea of now having to now sit behind a floodwall just doesn’t have the same appeal.”
Klipsch tells Local 4 News, Davenport is looked to as a leader in flood control.
“We were one of the cities that embraced the river,” he says. “We have our nine miles of parkland along the river. It comes out, and we don’t just put up a wall and push our problems down to Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. We deal with it here, and we’re actually viewed as a hero for doing that in the city.”
The National Weather Service says this spring, the Mississippi River will have a high chance of reaching major flood stage levels.