MULVANE, Kan. (KSNW) – Disaster preparedness has become second nature to the people in Mulvane who experienced extreme flooding last August and September.
Much of Mulvane sits low and even below the flood plain, so rain can quickly transition a situation from mild to emergency mode. The staff at Uncle Roy’s Tavern near downtown Mulvane know it a little too well.
“Now, every time the clouds get dark and the skies look angry, we have to consider going into action,” co-owner Shane McCullough said.
McCullough opened the tavern in August 2016 and within 48 hours, there was four feet of water coursing through the bar. Staff, volunteers for the opening festivities and customers were able to escape the waters by using the knocked over Tilt-a-Whirl laying outside on Second Street, which was there for Old Settler’s Days.
Days rain threatens, McCullough and crew get preventative.
“When the time requires, we go out and put sand bags and tarps against the doors, so if the water does rise, it’s ability to actually get into the building is significantly reduced,” McCullough said.
Dozens of sandbags sit at the back door of Uncle Roy’s Tavern but the co-owners have a plan to add some French drains and concrete retaining walls at the back of the building that they can drop in steel plates in the entrance areas.
At the city level, city officials are taking action too, sending a letter of intent to FEMA and Kansas Department of Emergency Management for a grant application they would use to build some preventative hazardous mitigation items, like a detention or retention pond.
“To say that we would get grant money and be under construction in six months to a year, that would be unrealistic and overoptimistic. I would say, if we’re able to move forward with storm drainage improvements with KDEM or FEMA funds in the next couple years, that would be pretty quick,” city administrator Kent Hixson said.
Parts of Styx Creek sit on private property, so any funds the city receives from FEMA or KDEM won’t help those areas. The city performs routine maintenance on culverts and storm drains.
The city of Mulvane sits in the Styx Creek drainage basin according to Hixson.