Corps says more money for Birds Point Levee rebuild

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Friday afternoon the Army Corps of Engineers announced it has $3 million dollars more to contribute to the rebuilding construction of the Birds Point Levee.

The Corps blew the levee up earlier this year due to severe flooding.

The Corps announced Thursday it plans to rebuild up to 55 feet, opposed to the original plan of 51 feet. But some people who live in the area say it's still not enough.

"It's a whole lot better than 51, but it needs to be 62," said Milus Wallace.

Wallace owns the spillway land where the Corps is working to rebuild the Birds Point Levee. Wallace has farmed the land for more than 40 years.

"It needs to be fixed," said Wallace. "If they blowed the levee up and blowed the homes up to save people's lives, they ought to fix the lives that they ruined."

"You know we'd like to get our life back," said Wallace's wife Wanda.

Wanda Wallace says they are grateful for the Corps workers, and have become like a family with them.

"We fry fish underneath the cottonwood tree at least once a week for all these hard working corps men and women that are in here," said Wallace.

But she still worries how this plan will affect their future.

"They say that they'll flood fight it you know if we have a spring water, and we will, but what if they're slow about getting in here and putting our sandbags," said Wallace. "You know 55 feet just isn't going to get it."

Lawanda Douglas is a former mayor of East Prairie, and used to have an insurance company. She's insured many of the people in the spillway.

"Our hearts are here, and always will be," said Douglas.

She too thinks the Corps should build the levee up to a higher level.

"Until they do, these people's investment down here won't be safe," said Douglas.

Army Corps of Engineer Spokesman Bob Anderson said they plan to build the levee back to the 62.5 level, but can't do it all at once. He says they have to work on all the levees simultaneously to make sure there isn't more pressure in one place.

Now Douglas and the Wallace family say they will wait to see what the Corps pumps out.

"I hope they can fulfil the promise they made," said Douglas.

"I think they ought to have the plan to start with," said Wallace. "When they blowed the levee, they ought to have a plan to build it back."

Heartland News also spoke with a spokesman from Governor Nixon's office. Thursday the Governor said he would contribute an additional $2 million dollars of infrastructure money to help with the rebuilding of the levee.

But, with this new Corps money, the spokesman says the state's money might not be necessary. But, he does say the Governor is dedicated to the project, and will use the money if needed.

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