A reminder of Mississippi River flood wall importance

There are plenty of examples where government spends money like it’s going out of style. Frankly, much of the time it’s pretty irresponsible. But there are projects where the money is spent purposefully. The flood wall protecting downtown Cape Girardeau from the rising Mississippi River is one such example of taxpayer dollars well spent.

Recently, representatives of the city and Corps of Engineers gathered to mark the completion of a 15-year project totaling $19.8 million — most of which was paid for by the federal government. Officials say the updates should extend the wall’s life at least another 50 years.

The renovations include placement of rip rap along the river bank between the south railroad gate and Merriwether Pumping Station; refurbished pumps and motors at city pumping stations; upgrades and reinforcement along the wall; and 600 feet of drain pipe replaced, which included relocating 1,800 feet of railroad track.

“Many of us were not here, but we’ve seen pictures of what downtown Cape Girardeau looked like before the flood wall was built,” Cape Girardeau Mayor Bob Fox said. “Floods were devastating to the businesses and to the people who lived here.”

Driving down Broadway to the Southeast Missourian offices, we’re blessed with a magnificent view of the river on a daily basis. It looks so peaceful, but looks can be deceiving. The river is called the Mighty Mississippi for a reason, and having the flood wall as a barrier to protect individuals and businesses from a flooding Mississippi River is vital. We’re thankful these updates were made, extending the flood wall’s life hopefully for at least another half century or more.