I-Team Investigates, Flooding concerns mount in Ste. Genevieve

I-Team Investigates, Flooding concerns mount in Ste. Genevieve

STE. GENEVIEVE, MO (KFVS) - This time of year flash flooding is always a concern.

In Ste. Genevieve, a proposal to protect historic homes from flooding has been stuck in the mud for more than a decade.

Some property owners contacted the Heartland News I-Team wanting to know what the problem is, and why it's taking so long?

"It's pretty frustrating," said Ste. Genevieve Mayor Dick Greminger.

Flooding is always a concern in Ste. Genevieve.

Mayor Dick Greminger has lived there his entire life.

"The flood of 1973 was bad from then on, seemed like it hit regularly," said Greminger.

Then came the flood of 1993, which caused widespread devastation.

So in 2001, a levee was built to protect the historic town from the Mississippi River.

The big concern now is flash flooding.

"Several thousand acres drain into these creeks and whenever there's a flash flood these creeks come up and threaten homes along the creeks," said Greminger.

There are 70 t0 80 homes in that area,  many of which are on the national register. They are threatened by the North and South Gabouri Creeks.

The city's been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 2002 to get the ball rolling.

The multi-million dollar project is funded mostly by the government, and the city's share is 25 percent.

The original cost to the city was $3.1 million. The city raised that, but the Corps came back and said they made a mistake.

The city's share then went up to about $4 million.

City leaders in Ste. Genevieve are now trying to figure out how to pay for everything.

Meantime, people in town want answers.

"First thing they've got to do is put politics aside," said Lawrence Marler.

Marler owns 22 rental properties in Ste. Genevieve. Many of them are rich in French colonial history.

They're all at risk of flooding.

"So what do you do, you prepare for it," said Marler.

Marler says he has flood insurance, so he's not that worried. However, he would like to see something done.

"It can be worked out," said Marler.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the ball is now in the city's court.

"The project can move forward," said Project Manager Dennis Gilmore. Gilmore said the earliest work could begin would be next year.

"We would like to start spending our money to get a few of these projects done so we could have an impact on flash flooding," said Greminger.

Several proposals remain on the table as to how they'll execute flood control.

"In the flood of '93 we lost about 100 homes, had to buy them out and we don't want to lose more," said Greminger.

He fears that could happen if  they don't act soon.

Ste. Genevieve has already spent $100,000 on this project.

The city still has to pay about $29,000 on a study to get the ball rolling.

The question now for the city, do they pay that money and rely on the Corps?

Or, do they try to spend the $3 million they have and do it themselves?

The Board of Alderman's expected to tackle this issue in the next couple of weeks.

Stay with Heartland News for the latest developments.  Click here for more I-Team stories.

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