GRAFTON, IL – On the flood watch, Grafton city leaders and business owners are talking about the recovery process as the massive floodwaters slowly recede.
The goal is to get the impacted businesses in Grafton back up and running by the 4th of July with fireworks on July 6th.
The water there has fallen about four feet since it crested back on June 8th at the second highest level ever.
There is still a tremendous amount of floodwater in Grafton continuing to cause problems.
But even with all the challenges people in that community are vowing to move Grafton forward.
“It`s very dramatic,” said Peter Allen talking about the damage to the popular Loading Dock Bar and Grill in Grafton which he owns.
Peter and Grafton Mayor Rick Eberlin took us by boat to see the Loading Dock and other areas impacted by floodwaters which will face major recoveries.
“We really feel for all of our employees. Up to 80 people have been displaced,” said Allen.
Peter hopes to get back into the Loading Dock later this week to start the clean-up.
“It will be tough but we`ll get in there when it`s still wet and you know we`re good at it,” Allen told us.
Dan and Brenda Bechtold have owned three businesses along Main Street for years, all of them took on feet of floodwater.
They have already done some cleaning at their guest house.
But it will be a while before they can get into their wood crafting business and country market.
“This one here is going to be the worst of the worst. The damage is going to be way beyond what we expect,” said Dan Bechtold about this flood.
Brenda added, “You wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks and there`s nothing you can really do.”
Jacob Foster is among those in Grafton residents who can still only get to their homes by boat or in his case canoe, “It`s really been a lot. You know it takes a lot out of you canoeing in and out every day,” said Jacob Foster.
Monday night Grafton city leaders met with business owners to talk clean up.
Mayor Eberlin is asking for volunteers to help starting this weekend.
Lots of supplies have already been donated including bleach.
The Mayor is hopeful for Grafton`s future.
“We are very resilient and that word`s been used a lot but it`s the truth. We just need to keep plugging away,” said Eberlin.
We`re told the Illinois National Guard members which have been in Grafton helping out for a while will be pulling out on Thursday.
Mayor Eberlin says if you want to volunteer you can either go online at graftonilchamber.com and sign up or call Grafton City Hall at 618-786-3344.
The Mayor tells us he does expect some residents to leave Grafton in the wake of the flood but he is hopeful most all of the businesses will stay.
Eberlin believes the residents who may leave have been through floods before and no longer want to deal with the clean-up.
The Mayor hopes low-interest small business loans will be available to help with the recovery.
He says buyouts would only be possible if the community is declared a federal disaster area and that has not happened at this point.