But there's still work to be done and money to be spent. Owner
She says she understands why so many businesses fold after a flood.
"Unless you've got enough insurance to cover it," she said, "... you're going to go through your entire life savings."
Meanwhile, as the
"There's a recognition that we can't just do mitigation after a disaster," Maurstad told the
Flood policy conversations resonate in places like
Though the floodwater crested in early June, its toll on the town has been felt most of the year. The marathon flood fight started in March. Its aftermath still dominates daily life for many in
"We still don't have the Post Office, we still don't have a bank, we still don't have a gas station," Grossnickle said. "And until a couple weeks ago, we still didn't have a place to eat."
As other businesses and commercial spaces around town have remained dark, changed hands, left for good or been put up for sale, Grossnickle wages an expensive and arduous battle to fix up the cavernous antique center.
Smiley said the business provides the bulk of the town's sales tax revenue. "She has an overwhelming job trying to put it back together again," she said.
Costs of that effort have far outweighed the
Business owners like her are not eligible for individual assistance grants through
Other residents said they also get too little from flood insurance.
The city's maintenance manager,
But he couldn't protect his trailer, a few blocks away. Floodwater rose up to its floor and underside. Insurance paid more than
He raised the trailer off the ground, as
"Flood insurance only pays me if it gets on my floor," said Dowell.
He has been living with relatives, hopes to move back by Christmas, and has all but given up on
Dowell isn't alone.
"It would be very different if there was a breach in that wall," said Smiley. "The reaction and response would be different."
The fate of the flood-ravaged
Facing the future
The town is preparing for more major floods -- a risk fueled, in part, by the greater likelihood of heavy precipitation in a warmer climate. But town residents like Calvin and Dowell also direct blame at nearby levees, especially across the river, in
"When I found out the state of
But a quick drive around town suggests that not everyone's concerns are allayed. Along
Howland isn't deterred.
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