Grand Tower residents are watching the rivers closely

The eyes of Grand Tower citizens are watching the river levels on both the Mississippi and Big Muddy rivers these days.

That's because the town sits between the two rivers and levees protect the town when the rivers flood.

But, now that protection is in jeopardy after the Big Muddy River Levee failed this past Spring.

"If the water comes up you have a limited amount of time to pack up what you need and get out," Carol Bumpus said. "If we had to leave it would be difficult for us. We're older, we really have no where to go, this is home. It would be difficult to find another place like this. Grand Tower is a place where people take care of one another."

The sinkhole on the Big Muddy River Levee took more than a hundred truck loads of dirt and rock to fill this past Spring.

The Mayor of Grand Tower says it's not really fixed.

"We are wanting people to be aware of what is going on here," Mayor Mike Ellet said. "And to be aware of what we can do if this happens to fail. And this spot is not fixed. We've got a Band-Aid on it, it's holding. We'll know to watch this. My concern is the ones that haven't collapsed yet. And we won't really be able to tell if they're bad until the water comes up."

Which may happen much sooner then the town is ready for.

Because the federal funds the town thought they were going to be able to use to fix the ailing levee were denied.  They were part of a bond referendum that tax payers in Jackson County had approved back in 1994.

The federal laws prohibited issuing any bonds older than seven years.

Now the town is going to have to come up with the more than $1.5-million that's estimated to fix the current levee problems.

"We are asking for help. We would like to get the railroad involved. Anybody that knows anything at all give us some advice," Mayor Ellet said. "We're not turning anybody away. We've got a lot of beautiful farm land down here. A lot of people's lives are at stake, these are our homes. And we're just trying to protect our homes."

The Mayor and city council have called a special town hall meeting on Monday evening to inform everyone about what's going on with the levee. And what plans are in place should they need to evacuate the town.

"It's a lot of "what ifs", but it's pretty  obvious we've got a lot of snow and ice up north. What we're trying to do is get people prepared to let everybody be aware of what's going on here." Mayor Ellet said.