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Clarksville fighting rising floodwater to save 40th annual AppleFest

CLARKSVILLE, Mo. - Clarksville is fighting back the floodwaters as it prepares for one of its biggest tourist attractions of the year.

At the moment, volunteers in Clarksville are filling sandbags that they will use to build a retaining wall to help protect the businesses downtown.

“But we are survivors here in Clarksville. We’ve been here before. It’s been worse before, but we stay because we love it,” says Joanna Brock, president of the Clarksville Community Chamber of Commerce.

AppleFest is also at the core of the Clarksville community. Friends and family from all over are expected to come in for the 40th annual celebration this weekend, but the flooding could put a damper on that.

“It’s difficult to stage a parade and get vendors unloaded if we’re going to have a water next to the shed. It’s possible there may be an inch or two but that’s still enough to cause problems,” she says.

“Parts of 79 will be underwater, streets will be underwater, parking will be a problem. There will be water around the Apple Shed,” says Mayor Jo Anne Smiley.

She says Clarksville sits right on the bank of the Mississippi River so it continually floods, and she’s been fighting for some time now to get funding for an alternative to sandbagging.

“It’s a product that can be stored and saved and reused. It will not obliterate the view of the river which is so very important to a tourist town,” Smiley says.

The problem as it comes with a $4 million price tag. She hopes it will be covered by state and federal dollars along with grants. She says the state of Missouri would need to chip in first and it in the past it’s gotten dropped from the budget.

“We have a new governor and we have to start all over again,” Smiley says.