Rocheport residents want people to know that despite flooding, businesses are open and eager for customers.

City Alderman Conrad Yates said visitors could come and not even know about the rising river levels.

“People tend to think we’re underwater bobbing like corks and that’s not true at all,” Yates said. “It’s harmful to our businesses for that impression to be given.”

Brandon Vair is the owner of the Meriwether Café and Bike Shop, where visitors can rent bikes to ride on the Katy Trail.

Missouri State Parks closed a large part of the trail May 23. Vair said he has already noticed a decline in sales.

"The impact economically is certainly going to be devastating for our business, it's hard to ride bikes on a trail that doesn't exist," Vair said. "This is our busy season. We've seen 20 to 25% less in sales."

Vair said business will continue as usual and he hopes that will encourage people to keep coming.

"You can't really prepare for it," Vair said. "You can only react to it."

While flooding on the Missouri River continues to near the historic highs of the Great Flood of 1993, the Rocheport community is ahead of the game.

Volunteers from the community and neighboring towns have been participating in off-and-on sandbag efforts for more than two weeks.

Yates estimated that volunteers have made nearly 100,000 sandbags. He said the sandbags form a protective wall between the Katy Trail and the Missouri River that stretches hundreds of feet. In some places, the wall is as high as 5 feet.

“We’re not playing catch up, we’re playing keep ahead,” Yates said. “It allows us to not carry on in a frantic way.”

Missouri 240 into Rocheport is among hundreds of roads that are closed in Missouri because of flooding, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation. The city is still accessible through Route BB.

Similar preventative efforts began in Hartsburg two weeks ago and continued over the weekend. Community volunteers filled sandbags to be hauled to the levees along the Missouri River, according to a Facebook post by the Southern Boone County Fire Protection District.

The town is not underwater but the threat of flooding has impeded residents and their businesses.

Jo Hackman, owner of Hackman Farms and Hartsburg resident, said her family temporarily moved to Ashland, leaving their growing produce behind as a precaution for the next week.

“When we're up here I’m thinking about what needs to be done down there,” Hackman said. “We raise produce and the produce needs to be tended to.”

This isn’t Hackman’s first experience with flooding. During the Great Flood of 1993, she remembers coming back to 7 feet of water in her home and is worried the recent flooding could cause a similar situation.

“We’re just hoping everything stays in tact,” Hackman said.

In McBaine, flooding has submerged several houses, causing debris to float along the streets. Part of Route K into McBaine is closed.

— Missourian Reporter Kristina Esdale contributed to this report.

Supervising editor is Marcelle Peters

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