Grand Tower levee repairs could be going higher - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Grand Tower levee repairs could be going higher

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GRAND TOWER, IL (KFVS) -

The Grand Tower community continues with their fundraising efforts to be able to repair their ailing levee.

On Saturday afternoon they raised more then $7,000 with a chili dinner, raffle, bake sale, a $1,000 check from the Jackson County Shrine Club and a $3,000 check from SIU President Glenn Poshard.

But, now a new federal proposal to fix the levee problems could end up costing the town even more money than they already don't have.

"There is a draft currently sitting at the Pentagon," said Michael Peterson media relations at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "If it is approved under current policy it would include a cost share. Where 65 percent would be federally funded, 35 percent would be locally funded. To date we've done extensive repairs on the slides on the levee to $32 million at federal expense."

The Grand Tower Levee District is currently trying to raise more than $1 million to fix a drainage gate in the levee that failed this past year.

Now, the possibility of having to come up with even more funds to fix the numerous slides along the levee, is more then they can muster.

"There's no way we can come up with that kind of money," said Roger Cavness chairman of the Grand Tower Levee and Drainage District. The corps of engineers designed it and built it, and they should stand behind it. It's made out of poor materials and they recognized that in the early seventies."

The corps of engineers doesn't deny there are deficiencies in the soil used to build the levee, but they also say they no longer have the funds to repair the problems on their own.

"At current policy we have to cost share most all the projects the corps of engineers undertakes nationally. And this is a nationwide issue. We're dealing with levee problems coast to coast, anywhere there's aging infrastructure like this we're facing levee safety issues," Peterson said.

For the Grand Tower community their focus is on the levee running along their backyards and the banks of the Big Muddy River.

"The drainage pipes scare me a lot worse then the slides do at this point, until we can get liners in them. But it's not a good thing to have a slide anywhere on our levee system," Cavness said.

At this time the federal proposal is only a draft currently being considered by the Pentagon for approval.

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