Broken levee forces community out for safety concerns


Reporter - Julie Collins
Photographer - David Dycus
Web Editor - Amanda Roberts


Illinois congressmen recently introduced legislation to grant Jackson County the authority to issue more bonds in order to repair the Grand Tower Levee.

Both Illinois State Representative Mike Bost and State Senator Dave Luechtefeld agree that the bonds are necessary for improving the safety of the community.

In 1994, voters in Jackson County approved a referendum to issue bonds to repair the Grand Tower Levee. However, not enough bonds were sold and time ran out to sell more.

Original Story:

GRAND TOWER, Ill. - Grand Tower, Illinois mayor Mike Ellet will hold a town hall meeting tonight to discuss possible plan for evacuation at the spring rains loom.

There are 17 miles of levee in the Grand Tower District. A section of the levee collapsed last June and it will be a one million dollar project to fix it. It is not eligible for financial help from the Army Corps of Engineers so the city is left to fend for themselves. This problem has the locals worried and the mayor at his wit's end.

Ellet is sleeping with one eye open thanks to a stretch of the Big Muddy River levee. The 67 year-old levee collapsed, and while the city brought in 107 semi truck loads of rock and sand, it simply is not enough.

The mayor is afraid the smallest amount of rain could send water into the town thanks to the damage.

"it's not a panic situation right now but come the spring and those rains I'm sure we'll get, it's going to be a rush to get us all out," says Ellet.

Ellet will host a meeting tonight at 7:00 to discuss a possible evacuation plan for the 800 residents of Grand Tower.

"It's not a matter of if, it's when," says John Williams, resident of Grand Tower, "I'll be at that meeting because I know it's inevitable that we'll have to leave."

The meeting is Monday, January 13th at 7:00pm at the Grand Tower civic center.