While some buildings and businesses in Boone County managed to remain unscathed by recent historic flooding, others were not so lucky.
Rocheport Mayor John Zondca said the thousands of sandbags lined between the river and the city worked, and floodwaters caused no significant infrastructure damage. At worst, two or three homes saw water rise up to their doors, Zondca said.
The owner of a business next to the trail said when the flooding was at its worst, his main concern was working on the sandbag wall.
“Definitely take care of the town first and the business second,” said Brandon Vair of Meriwether Cafe and Bike Shop. “There were more pressing issues than taking care of the business, at that point. There was a whole town and a whole town’s infrastructure.”
The effort paid off, and Vair said his business sustained no damage. The current challenge, he said, is the lag in biking, running and hiking on the Katy Trail.
“About 70 to 75% of our business comes from trail traffic. It was certainly a hit in sales,” Vair said, adding that many assumed Rocheport’s businesses were closed because of surrounding closures and the proximity to the river.
“We did see a little less traffic than we’re used to, for sure,” said Christa Holtzclaw, the marketing director of Les Bourgeois Vineyards. She said many of the winery’s production staff assisted in piling sandbags while the river was rising, which impacted their operations to an extent.
Holtzclaw also said there was an assumption that Rocheport was closed or inaccessible when river levels were over 30 feet. She said she hopes people take advantage of reopened roads to travel to Rocheport.
“(We’re) letting people know that area stores and attractions are all open. We’re happy for people to come visit us and try to make up for some of that time that we lost,” Holtzclaw said.
Two business south of Rocheport remain in need of major repairs from water damage.
Cooper’s Landing and Katfish Katy’s remain closed to the public as they rebuild from significant structural damage.
A Tuesday post on the Cooper’s Landing Facebook page said there is much work left to do:
“The river has receded, and we are left with a huge mess. We will have extensive remodeling and landscaping to do so it may be a little while before we’re up and running at full capacity,” the post said. “But we will begin having music and selling beer, soda and snacks as soon as possible!