At least a few Missouri River towns that have been dealing with flooding all summer are finally seeing some hope: The water has receded enough to start removing sandbags.
Hundreds of residents still haven’t been able to return to their flood-damaged homes and face the daunting task of cleanup and rebuilding. And the water level along the river is still high in many areas. But it’s dropped enough for some places to start taking down their temporary floodwalls.
“I think this is the first visible sign that recovery is starting to take place,” said Trey Cocking, the city manager of the Kansas town of Atchison, as the floodwall began coming down on Friday.
Businesses in Atchison, about 40 miles north of Kansas City, have struggled because high waters closed a major bridge weeks ago. That has reduced the number of people coming to visit sites such as the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum, which is in the home where the famous aviator was born.
At Mueller’s Locker Room, a restaurant along the river, business has been down by 50 percent, in part because the floodwall ate up most of its parking and obstructed customers’ view of the river, said manager Erin Riley.
“It has killed us,” she said. “Now things possibly can get back to normal.”