The Landing fire impact on community

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:37 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 10:19 PM CDT
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VAN BUREN, Mo. (KFVS) - If you’ve ever floated down the current river, you know about The Landing.

The business along the Current River just marked its 40th year before it burned to the ground early Wednesday morning.

As investigators sift through the rubble for a cause, leaders in Carter County hope the popular business can somehow rebuild.

”They come from all over the states Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois people come from everywhere to go floating there,” said Ron Keeney, Carter County’s presiding Commissioner.

A 40-year river tradition, turned to dust. There’s not much left to see at the sight of the Landing, Carter County’s premier tourist stop and main engine of the region’s economy.

“It’s a big employer, they have a big business there and it contributes a lot to the tax base,” said Keeney.

This fire leaves many out here feeling a personal loss.

Van Buren Alderman John Bailiff says his daughter got her first job at The Landing.

“When she found out this morning, she texts me immediately and she said dad I’m so sad there’s a lot of memories there,” said John Bailiff. ”You’re not just talking about us you’re talking about all the people, the tourists that come here from many states just to enjoy current river and they use the landing as a floating service because they know it’s a first-class operation,.”

The Landing owner Tom Bedell echoed that sense of community loss when we spoke with him Wednesday morning.

“It is a devastating loss. It’s going to be a loss to the community. And we don’t know yet what we plan to do, but in some way or another we’re gonna build back and we feel like we’re going to overcome this,” said Bedell.

The popular site along the current river has come back from damage before.

Severe flooding in both 2017 and 2019 brought the current out of its banks and onto the property.

Now, leaders on both the county and city level hope this long-standing river business gets back on its feet.

“At least they’ve got the river center it looks to me like I don’t know if they’ll try to operate out of there or not. I have not talked none of them and maybe they can continue in business there for a while,” said Keeney.

”Hopefully they can get it back and get back on their feet and rebuild and if they decide not to do that the long-term impact would be not a good thing for Carter County. I can assure you that it’ll be missed tremendously,” said Bailiff.

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