It was a bit eerie eyeing empty fields when practices and games normally would be filling the park with cars and kids, snowcones and hotdogs, softball banter and applause. Pick-ups pulling boats began trickling in about the time The L’il Kitchen and Shaved Ice moved back. By the Memorial Day weekend ballgames and boat traffic had resumed along with relief that some routine had returned
We have been artificially catapulted into the slower days of summer around here, similar to those days just before the start of school, thanks to the 1000-year flood in May. ‘Twould be great if that new title is accurate, since the last few years have seen multiple 100-year floods come a’callin’ prematurely.
Without warning the flood has given us an extreme example of the effects of not shopping locally. Empty buildings, lost jobs, decreased tax revenue, less traffic resulting in reduced sales in businesses still operating.
Diminished tourism means fewer dollars spent everywhere – convenience markets/gas stations, groceries, package stores, motels, variety stores, eateries, and flea markets. Fewer dollars means less profit, so fewer employees necessary. Fewer employees means non-seasonal services suffer as well with fewer dollars floating around. Granted, businesses on higher ground may feel a boost, but even they will be affected by the reduction in folks who visit our area for river-related recreation.
It seemed Doniphan/Ripley County had become an increasingly popular destination. Are we going to become just a place to go to the bathroom and get a soda on the way to somewhere else? Are we relying too much on the river to thrive as a community? If so, how can we alter that?
Time is needed to rebound after the magnitude of the devastation endured. I hope greed and politics don’t stand in the way of rebuilding