The Peoria City Council has learned, so far, it has cost the City of Peoria $720,000 to hold back the flooded Illinois River.
Public Works Director Mike Rogers says the cost includes labor, materials, contractor expenses and equipment. The equipment includes the temporary sand wall and sand bags that were put in place along the Peoria riverfront from the River Station to the CEFCU Center Stage.
City Manager Patrick Urich compared that cost with the cost of doing nothing along Water Street between Liberty and Harrison.
“That would have flooded that area for three days,” Urich said. “All those businesses in that area would have been flooded. Additionally, the River Station would have been completely surrounded by water.”
Urich said not to mention the economic impact of possibly cancelling events such as Steamboat Days or UnityPoint Health Methodist-Proctor Red, White and Boom.
Rogers said the river is not projected to fall below the 18-foot flood stage until August 2, and that’s without any additional major rainfall to the north.
The Council suggested possibly a more permanent, temporary flood wall other than sand.
Rogers says a portable wall partially made of aluminum would cost around $2-million. However, he says there needs to be a more permanent solution to something else first.
“We need to have a greater vision of what the downtown is going to look like,” Rogers said. “You want to do it right, and you want to do it one time.”
Rogers says the added cost of storm damage in early June brings the total city expense for that month to about $913,000.