Michiganders know too well the harsh realities of lots of snow right before a warm spell. The melting snow combined with consistent, heavy rain in mid February left towns and homes across the state flooded and soggy. Eaton Rapids and its surrounding towns were not an exception. Flooded basements, rising river levels, and closed roads left Eaton Rapids residents wondering if the Island City would be Eaton County’s own Atlantis.
While Eaton Rapids has seen worse flooding, 2018’s mid February rains and melting snow saw the highest river levels since 1975. But the city survived, in no small part to the help of many city officials and local volunteers. Workers from the city and township filled and placed 2,000 bags of sand and placed them near Wilders Automotive, Hoag and Sons’, and near the Red Ribbon Hall. According to mayor Paul Malewski, the bags weren’t placed directly on the river.
Traffic to the downtown was rerouted temporarily to Hall Street. Between Knight Street and Broad Street the Main Street was closed to through traffic, though downtown was strictly closed, according to Malewski. Local traffic still had access to downtown, though caution was encouraged. The State Street Bridge remained closed for a time due to the rising water levels.
According to Malewski there was only minor flood damage on the city’s end, and the only significant cost was for the operating of city vehicles and equipment. With all the inconveniences and work considered, the mayor was grateful for the help in protecting the city.
“I would like to thank our citizens and our volunteers, our CERT team, The Eaton County Sheriffs Office, The Hamlin Township Fire Department, The Eaton Rapids Township Fire Department, The Eaton Rapids Police Department, The Michigan Department of Transportation, The Eaton Rapids Department of Public Works, The City Administrative staff and The Eaton Rapids Fire Department. I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to Fire Chief Roger McNutt. Without his steady hand and tireless dedication this effort would not have been nearly as successful.”