People are key to disaster recoveryPeople volunteered to fill sandbags, helped others move out of the reach of floodwaters and aided in collecting sandbags. The 2011 Missouri River flood leaned heavily on the good will of the local community, and people rose to the occasion. It’s what we do in times of need.
By: Bismarck Tribune, The Jamestown Sun
People volunteered to fill sandbags, helped others move out of the reach of floodwaters and aided in collecting sandbags. The 2011 Missouri River flood leaned heavily on the good will of the local community, and people rose to the occasion. It’s what we do in times of need.
The Tribune reported three Burleigh County boat ramps need repairs and one Morton County ramp and park might be closed after taking the brunt of the Missouri River at flood stage.
“The (Morton County) commission’s stance is if there’s no (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) corps assistance and no FEMA assistance for Graner Park, the county will abandon it and put its resources elsewhere,” said Morton County Commissioner Andy Zachmeier, who holds the parks portfolio. That boat ramp and park had huge, uprooted trees run aground in the recreation area, other trees are badly damaged, the fish-cleaning station needs to be overhauled, electrical units are damaged and fire boxes (for grilling) have washed into the river or are buried in the silt.
Some of the stuff that needs doing in the riverside parks and at the boat ramps requires heavy equipment or a degree of knowledge in wiring or plumbing. But a great deal of that work could be done by volunteers. And, frankly, people would be willing to raise money to help pay for what they could not do themselves.
Burleigh and Morton counties should survey what needs to be done at these recreation spots along the river, create a plan for restoring them and then shop that work, and funding goals, around to area civic organizations and volunteer groups. There’s time during the coming winter to get organized. There are ways to deal with liability. There are a lot of people who have used those ramps and parks over the years, and many of them would be willing to repay the privilege with their skill, labor and cash.
Practically speaking, it will still require county, state and federal support, but the volunteer help of local citizens, as well as private donations, can be used to stretch those resources so that the work gets done.
To contemplate abandoning Graner Park because the federal money isn’t there seems a step too far. Before Morton County takes that kind of action, other alternatives should be considered, including asking local people if they want to lend a hand or a check. After Burleigh County reviews its need, it might find itself in the same position.
Citizens are the safety net when it comes to community.