Inver Grove Heights marina braces for river to rise


City crews added more sandbags to a pile at Twin City Marina in Inver Grove Heights on Wednesday, June 25, bracing for the Mississippi River to crest in the next day or so. Since heavy rains began flooding the area last week, marina manager Jeff Holleschau and a handful of employees have been pulling 10- to 12-hour days, removing logs from the dock area and pumping water out of flooded areas, including a building basement. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

The water in Randy French's basement was waist-deep at one point, settling down to about ankle-deep on Wednesday, June 25. He, his wife and his four children just came home to the riverfront house they rent from the Twin City Marina, after three days living in a hotel. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Randy French's house near a couple of ponds and an Inver Grove Heights marina flooded, starting about a week ago, reaching its worst point over the weekend. Algae, cottonwood seeds and mud dirtied the standing water June 25, as the area braced for the Mississippi River to rise even higher. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

City crews stacked sandbags at Twin City Marina in Inver Grove Heights on Wednesday, June 25, preparing for the Mississippi River to crest Thursday. Since heavy rains began flooding the area last week, marina manager Jeff Holleschau and a handful of employees have been pulling 10- to 12-hour days, removing logs from the dock area and pumping water out of flooded areas, including a building basement. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

A man canoed through a flooded area at Twin City Marina in Inver Grove Heights on Wednesday, June 25. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

House rented by family nearby still flooded

The loud hum of pumps sucking water from flooded ponds and dumping it closer to the Mississippi River polluted the area of Twin City Marina in Inver Grove Heights on Wednesday, June 25.

Marina manager Jeff Holleschau said city workers and marina employees that day prepared for the river to crest. They stacked sandbags, pumped water out of a flooded building's basement and removed logs that could cause the docks to buckle in the rising water.

The buildup of floating tree trunks and branches "creates a lot of drag on the docks, and the docks could be pushed down river," he said. "(City staff) added more sandbags today, just bracing for if we have some more rain. That could change everything."

At press time, the Mississippi River was expected to rise to about 20 1/2 feet on Thursday. Holleschau said it was at about 19 1/2 feet on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service forecast for the Twin Cities included a chance for thunderstorms and heavy rain through Sunday, June 29.

It's common for the marina to flood in the spring, according to Holleschau. Since he became the manager in 2001, he said the marina has been closed four times, due to flooding.

This year, the river has become swollen unfortunately close to a popular boating holiday.

"Fourth of July's pretty much ruined," Holleschau said. "A lot of people (usually) go out for the weekend on their boats. They can't get to their boats; they can't go to the (Drifter's Bar & Grill). It's closed."

Not far from the strained burm of sandbags at the marina, a house owned by the marina and rented by a family of six was still surrounded by water. On June 25, the water was ankle-deep in the basement. Algae, cottonwood seeds and mud littered the unplanned moat that infiltrated Randy French's home and garage.

French, who has lived there with his family for about a year and a half, said the water was waist-deep in the basement earlier this week. He added that the street "looked like a river."

"(The water) kept creeping and creeping, and all of a sudden, it busted through the (garage) wall," he said.

The family had to shut the electricity and gas off, and was put up in a hotel for three days. When the family returned to the house Wednesday, French didn't say much about what it was like to have his home, tools and kids' toys destroyed. He did say the flooding may push the family to move back to Florida (especially after suffering through a couple of harsh winters).

"This is going to take a long time to fix," French said, looking at the damage from a parking lot next to his driveway. "We didn't expect it to get that high."

Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and kroby@lillienews.com. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.

 

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