Last weekend, Marietta Main Street in partnership with other local organizations like the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce along with the City of Marietta, coordinated volunteer efforts to assist in flood preparations in downtown Marietta. Beginning on Friday, as soon as the weather predictions indicated the potential for a 40’ water level, Main Street put out a call to action and the MOV community responded with fervor and expediency.
The whole weekend through, Main Street served as a switchboard of sorts, connecting requests for resources to those who reached out to offer them. Every communication channel was exhausted in an effort to keep everyone downtown on the same page and ensure every request for a sand bag, a volunteer, a storage trailer, or general encouragement was met.
“It was a stressful weekend making sure people were connected, but there is so much beauty in the fact that the only reason I was able to make those connections was because people were reaching out in such high volumes, looking for a way to help,” says Cristie Thomas, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street.
Marietta Main Street’s entire mission revolves around creating a healthy, revitalized, and vibrant downtown community. The threat of a flood – a very real disaster that a river town knows all too well – puts at risk the core of the organization’s work.
Not only is downtown Marietta home to over 20 different restaurants and over 35 small businesses, but it is home to The Salvation Army of Marietta, the National Fenton Glass Society, the Marietta Community Foundation, the Marietta-Washington County CVB, the Washington County Courthouse, Peoples Bank Theater, local banks and hotels, and more. Downtown is the heart of Marietta; protecting its people and preserving its character are deeply embedded in what the mission of Marietta Main Street sets out to do.
“Words can’t describe the feelings I had seeing everyone help,” shared Joni Clifton, General Manager of The River Town Grill. Boathouse BBQ, the sister restaurant of The River Town Grill, experienced more flooding than most and clean up efforts are still underway.
I wanted those affected by the flooding to know that they were not alone in this – that as a community we not only support each other in good times but also in times of trouble.
Volunteers flocked to downtown, including groups from Marietta College, Marietta City Schools, and individual citizens along with their family members aiming to help. The Marietta City Administration and employees also responded quickly, coordinating the delivery of sand and sand bags, ensuring street closures were in place to provide drivers safe passage through Marietta, and even offering to shovel sand and distribute resources themselves.
Councilwoman Cassidi Shoaf was among the volunteers Sunday evening shoveling sand into sand bags for distribution to local businesses.
“I wanted those affected by the flooding to know that they were not alone in this – that as a community we not only support each other in good times but also in times of trouble,” said the Councilwoman.
It’s often said that it takes a tragedy to really pull people together, and although last weekend was a scare, the predictions for this upcoming weekend are looking more and more grim.
“Experiencing community is truly what makes my heart beat. When people support each other, act neighborly, and extend a hand with no questions ask, simply because we know that we are each responsible for the well-being of each other, a community is functioning exactly as it should,” shared Cristie Thomas.
Thomas continued, explaining how she hopes the community can maintain this spirit moving forward.
“The predicted weather doesn’t look good, and as we speak the water levels downtown are getting higher in some areas. I am hopeful that our community can once again answer a call to action in this next few days, and help Main Street protect and preserve our greatest assets.”
One way to help out is by shopping locally now in downtown Marietta. Many downtown shops are clearing out their inventory and offering discounted merchandise to relieve the volume of what needs to be moved as they prepare for flooding. Additionally, following along on the Marietta Main Street social media accounts, primarily Facebook, will keep locals aware of the current needs in real time, like volunteer requests, supply requests, and information from the City of Marietta regarding road closures and more.
To learn how to help moving forward or to access information on flood relief preparation in Marietta, click the following link: Flood Preparation Guide for Downtown.
LOCAL WATER LEVELS: OHIO RIVER MARIETTA PUMPHOUSE
How to Use: This chart indicates the current water levels at the Marietta Pumphouse at the Ohio River, located directly in front of Harmar School. This chart is an accurate portrayal with water estimates up to 48 hours in advance and is a short-term prediction.
PREDICTED WATER LEVELS: 7 DAY PREDICTED WATER LEVELS
How to Use: This chart indicates a 7-day outlook at potential river levels based on “what if” scenarios, as according to the National Weather Service. This chart features a wide-variety of possibilities, with a best guess without consideration to local dam changes.
MARIETTA FLOOD INUNDATION LEVELS: LOCAL INUNDATION LEVEL MAP
How to Use: Buckeye Hills Regional Council put together an interactive map that was made by cutting an elevation model at various river heights as gauged at the location shown. This is based on the most updated data housed by Buckeye Hills Regional Council on the flood levels at each parcel shown on the map.
FLOOD INUNDATION MAPPER: U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY INUNDATION MAP
How to Use: The U.S.G.S. put together an inundation map that is interactive and attempts to show potential flood patterns based on water level, that can be customized by the user.
SUPPORT DISASTER RELIEF IN WASHINGTON COUNTY: WASHINGTON COUNTY DISASTER RELIEF FUND
The Marietta Community Foundation has a Washington County Disaster Relief Fund for those interested in financially supporting those affected by flooding. In the event of a disaster, all proceeds go towards helping local businesses and residents. To donate to this fund, include “Disaster Relief” as a note on your check or when making an online donation.