Canton Missouri's levee system needs major upgrades

Canton Missouri's levee system needs major upgrades

The City of Canton Missouri's levee system needs some improvements and the city needs its voters for help.

Canton's Mayor and other city officials have proposed a bond to fiance improvements to the north side of the levee system.

The Canton levee system needs some major upgrades.

Carol Ragar lives on the north side of Canton, right next to the levee and its only flood gate.

"It doesn't make you feel real well standing down there, looking down at that gate and seeing all that pressure on that gate and the water that high," Canton resident Carol Ragar said.

Every time it rains, Ragar fears the north gate might break and flood water could destroy her home.

"At one time the core of engineers came by when we were threatened before and they marked on our home how high it would be, mine was about three inches from the roof," Ragar said.

The north gate serves as the city last line of defense when the Mississippi overflows, but now it's too worn down to protect the community.

"The north gate is almost 50-years-old," former Canton Mayor Terry Fretwell said. "It's made out of aluminum, it's wearing out and that is the area that takes the hardest brunt of the flood waters."

"Even when the gates are in the fully open position, water will still hit the lock and damn, flow around and hit the north part of our levee and it is often times a foot higher on the north side than it will be on the east side of the levee," Phillips said.

For years, many members of the community tried to raise enough money to fix the levee system.

Canton's Mayor Jarrod Phillips and other members of the community came up with a 1.75 million dollar bond proposal to pay for upgrades to Canton's 2.85 mile long levee system.

"That's for the flood gate, for adding height to the north part of the levee," Phillips said. "That's for back up power generation for the pump stations and for additional, what they call rip-wrap or large stone to be placed on part of the north flank of the levee."

If the bond passes on Tuesday, the city can buy a new gate as well as add an additional 18 inches of clay for the north side levee.

Phillips said it's the only way to make sure the levee wont break.

"The impact of flooding would be catastrophic, we could lose our school," Phillips said. "It would be up to water to the second floor."

Ragar said it's important that the bond passes, in order for her home and community to be protected from future floods.

"I think if that levee breaks on the north end or that gate, and it keeps getting weaker every time, we do have a severe problem, " Ragar said. "I think it would probably wipe out the town."

The bond issue will be voted on Tuesday, at Canton's High School.