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Home / US / Messenger: A piece of dry land next to the Mississippi River is a monument to a bad flood policy Tony Messenger

Messenger: A piece of dry land next to the Mississippi River is a monument to a bad flood policy Tony Messenger





The flood fight inspired.

Hundreds and thousands of volunteers fill sandbags in a fight to beat the clock as the water trickles over levees or bubbles in sand boilers. They place them near houses and shops of strangers, on dams and in walls designed to keep rising water.

Policemen, firefighters, members of the National Guard, children, and even prisoners are getting in.

] Entire cities like Clarksville, Louisiana and Kimmswick protect their vulnerable inner cities from the upcoming crest of the Mississippi.

On weekends like the one just passed, we wait and watch the sky, hoping that the predicted thunderstorms will not materialize.

Every year the water rises ̵

1; and nowadays it seems to be so every year – the story is the same, though it varies according to the mood of nature from Portage des Sioux to West Alton to Low areas Meramec and southern neighborhoods near the river Des Peres.

This year in the flood, which was hit hardest by the numerous floods that have plagued the St. Louis area lately compared to the 1993 flood, deca des, there is something else.

It's a dry piece of ground beside the Mississippi north of the Chain of Rocks ridge.

The flat area of ​​about 75 acres has grown out of its former floodplain. It is shallow and brown, the earth has been scraped off and prepared for development, rising above the swollen river that had flooded it for centuries during Spring Rise.

In 1993 it was a golf course and it was under water. It was always underwater – at least in part – every time the river rose.

Then a lot of money was called. First, Las Vegas casinos looked at the property for the Missouri gambling license that still had to be awarded. Over the years, they paid millions of dollars to the owners only for the right to buy the property, if ever licensed.

The license went to another place. New owners came and they had a dream. First, a steamer, but a flood destroyed this idea. Then a lighthouse, a marina, a hotel, a gas station. It would be huge.

The business partners – Tony Daniele and Mark Repking – each had a busy financial past that had been convicted of federal crimes, but that does not matter. They had connections.

So the city of St. Louis began to join forces with them to lift the land from the flood plain.

For the past decade – with the support of the Engineering Corps – the city and metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District used the land as a dump and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the owners of today's Pier St. Louis to clean up the property fill and raise them higher and higher.

For the owners, I suppose that's a good thing. One day, with the help of taxpayers, they may have economically viable property.

This is the flood policy at the confluence of the two major rivers of America.

Developers promise money starves future wealth cities in the form of sales and property taxes on properties that produce none of it today.

For example, elected officials pay current tax revenues – money for the police, roads, libraries and schools, flood protection – to bet on a dubious future.

And when the water comes, areas that were flooded earlier – which should flood – rise in walls of earth and concrete and push the angry water elsewhere, where flood fighters mess with sand. Hustle and bustle, but not at all previously to remember such high water.

Across the river from Pier St. Louis to the north is the notorious Sny Island Levee Drainage District. Last year, the corps discovered that the dykes in this district are well above the federal borders. When the Mississippi reaches historic heights, the peasants who finance this district are dry, and the water that has spread over hundreds of years into the flood plains is pushed down to Missouri in the Pike County or down the river, where, if not Pier St. Louis would have gone there.

Lessons from the flood of 2019 are the same as all the previous floods.

A piece of dry soil on the northern tip of St Louis is a memorial to how little we have learned.


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