As the rivers rise and residents and business owners take precautions, the community of Downtown Marietta has come together to show that even in times of great need, we are always here for each other.
“Community means stepping up to meet the call when it’s made, and here in Marietta we are proud that we have a community full of helpers,” shared Cristie Thomas, Executive Director of Marietta Main Street. “Flooding is a very real fear in a river town, especially for our downtown, which is located on the confluence of both the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers.”
For many newer business owners, this is their first experience with waters this high. Merchants who survived the disastrous flood of 2004 are reaching out to newer business owners to offer advice and let them know what to expect. “It is truly heartwarming to see the community come together so quickly to take action and help out fellow neighbors,” said Laura Pytlik, owner of Wit & Whimzy.
“Business owners have been making preparations since yesterday morning to clean out flooded basements and move inventory to higher ground,” said Cristie. “We are grateful for all the volunteers who came out yesterday and today to offer a hand.”
As waters overtake the 200 block alley between Front and Second Streets, Post Street, and the river trail, several businesses have had to evacuate their basements. Thankfully, volunteers like Andrew Lisk and students from Marietta College were available with trailers and helping hands to quickly help transport inventory to higher ground.
“I have to say that the support for other businesses by business owners, city officials and the MC students, was obvious this afternoon, whether it was from stopping to pitch in where needed or to just check on others. As an almost life long resident of Marietta, I have to say it was very heartwarming to see that first hand today!”
Earlier this morning, dozens of volunteers showed up to help the owners and employees of American Flags and Poles clear out their first floor, as waters in their basement – and across the street – continued to rise. Next door, volunteers finished clearing out Dad’s Primitive Workbench and piled sandbags in front of the door. Owner Charlie Clay and his volunteers didn’t miss a beat, immediately heading over to help their neighbors.
“As the Archives Director and Board Member for the Washington County Historical Society, we don’t have an actual business downtown but we have a vested interest in downtown and the history, as well as across the entire county,” said Sarah Bird, yesterday afternoon. “I have to say that the support for other businesses by business owners, city officials and the MC students, was obvious this afternoon, whether it was from stopping to pitch in where needed or to just check on others. As an almost life long resident of Marietta, I have to say it was very heartwarming to see that first hand today!”
At noon on Saturday, the City of Marietta announced that the Ohio River’s crest prediction at Marietta had been updated to 40.1′, adding that roads will be closed to the public in the downtown district to allow space and safety for merchants and residents to move their belongings. “Please stay out of the area. This includes parts of Front, Second, Greene, and Putnam Streets,” the post said.
At 40.3′, water will start to flow inside many storefronts downtown and at 38′, some basements have up flooded up to 6′ and higher. With more rain in the forecast, many are keeping a close eye on the National Weather Service’s updates, linked below. The Mid-Ohio Valley floods for many reasons, only two of which are the rivers that flow through. Storm runoff and precipitation must also be taken into account, as well as what happens up stream near Wheeling and Pittsburgh.
With this update, businesses will be posting calls for volunteers. Marietta Main Street is helping to coordinate volunteer efforts with local businesses and service groups. You can follow updates on their Facebook page if you are able to lend a helping hand. For the businesses that already have a network of volunteers, they are asking for something a little less labor intensive – prayers and support.
Regardless of how high the water rises, all of Marietta’s downtown businesses will need the community to show their support by shopping local. Closing to move inventory or clean up after the waters recede takes money out of their registers, and can have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line at the end of the month. It will take more than a few days for many to recover from the impacts of this weekend’s flooding.
This is not the first flood to hit the Mid-Ohio Valley, and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s up to us as a community to come together in prayer, kindness, and action to help those in need so that together, we can weather the storm, clean up, and continue on.
For updates and additional information:
- This folder contains six spreadsheets showing properties affected at 39′ and 40′, thanks to Buckeye Hills Regional Council
- Buckeye Hills Regional Council put together a Flood Map to show how property parcels may be affected
- Marietta Main Street is coordinating volunteer efforts downtown; Check back frequently for updates on needs from downtown business owner
- The Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce is sharing updates on their Facebook Page
- The National Weather Service’s Hydrologic Prediction Service is being updated regularly