Riverfront Community Center closed as Missouri’s floodwaters rise in Leavenworth
As communities along the river experience unprecedented flows out of the Missouri River main stem reservoirs, the Army Corps of Engineers in the Omaha District wants to ensure they are provided with accurate and up-to-date information in a timely fashion and has established a Joint Information Center for Missouri River flooding. The public can email questions to the Joint Information Center at MRJIC@usace.army.mil or call 402-996-3877.
During any flood response activities throughout the basin, the Corps will also provide regular updates directly to the public via Facebook and Twitter (OmahaUSACE). View daily and forecasted reservoir and river information on the Water Management section of the Northwestern Division homepage.
For more local flood and emergency information, visit the city of Leavenworth’s website www.lvks.org and check out the city’s Facebook (City of Leavenworth) and Twitter pages. The public can also contact the Leavenworth County Emergency Management Office at 913-684-0455.
With the Missouri River at just over 30 feet and rising, the city of Leavenworth is starting to experience sewer issues at the Riverfront Community Center and has officially closed the building until river levels return to a manageable level.
“We closed our doors this afternoon and have canceled all upcoming events until further notice,” said Julie Anderson, the city’s Parks and Recreation director. “We have already contacted those having events in our Community Center during the upcoming weeks and rescheduled them at the Heritage Center. We will also move our lap swim and aquacise to the Wollman Aquatic Center, beginning on July 6.”
The city has been working the past five weeks to protect the historic Riverfront Community Center, developing a three-foot high barrier around the building with big sandbags. However, that doesn’t help the other issues that arise during a flooding of this magnitude, like sewer backup and groundwater infiltration.
A number of phone calls have recently come in from residents offering to help sandbag; and although the support is extremely appreciated, city officials say they currently have the sandbagging efforts under control. If there is a need for public assistance, notification will go out on the city’s website, social media pages and government access Channel 2.
At 30 feet, this year’s flood now ranks second on the list of recorded historical crests, just below the flood of 1993, when the river marked 35.34 feet.
“The city is doing its best to evaluate all of the potential issues it may have as the river reaches each action stage,” said Public Works deputy director Bob Patzwald. “We are currently examining not only the Riverfront Community Center, but also the Wastewater Treatment facility and, with a forecast for rain this weekend, the possibility of flash floods along Three-Mile Creek.”
The city has already closed access to Landing Park, which is east of the Riverfront Community Center, Riverfront Park Campground, Second Street from Marion to Poplar, its city brush site, animal shelter and Sherman Army Airfield.
The city reminds residents of the importance of not driving or wading through the rising water.
“The water is not safe for many reasons and it is important to reiterate that no one should be playing in or wading through water from the Missouri River or the local creeks,” Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens warned. “It is extremely contaminated and very dangerous. The last thing we want is for anyone to get hurt or sick.”