Hickory Creek destroys homes, Morse Park on east side of Neosho

The flood that came through on Saturday, April 29, affected more than 350 businesses and houses in the county including Neosho, Seneca, Anderson and Granby.

In Neosho, several homes were damaged, families were displaced and several roads were destroyed.

“We had 158 water rescues in Newton County, and 82 road closings/blocked roads and we are still receiving/conducting damage information on homes, but can say comfortably that over 200 homes were affected in Newton County. Some as little as one inch, some a total loss,” said Charla Geller, Newton County Emergency Management director.

Photo by Jimmy Sexton

The Neosho Police Department responded along with the rescue boats and trucks to help guide official and civilian rescuers to where they needed to go.

The first water rescue in Newton County was at 8:07 a.m. and the last water rescue was conducted at 10:28 p.m. on Saturday night.

The rain gauge at the EOC showed 6.43 inches of rain for Saturday, however there were pockets in the area that received heavier rain than that.

“We had several vehicles that were swept away that we checked up on and we did security of the entire area. I had four officers on duty and I had to call in four more,” said David Kennedy, Neosho police chief.

Some areas that received damage were the Neosho ball fields, Morse Park, Neosho Collision Center, Kwik Mart, several parking lots in the area and over 50 homes on the east side of town in the Freeman Road/McKinney Street/Riverside Drive area.

“The east side of town was crucial for residents. White Avenue Apartments suffered water damage, and everything around Riverside was flooded,” said Kennedy.

Residences on the east side of town sustained several feet of water and homeowners in the valleys were forced out of their homes due to rising floodwaters.

“The higher elevated areas were not near as bad because they were on an incline, but those who weren’t in those elevated areas suffered,” said Kennedy.

The parking lot for the Morse Park trail on Highway 86 was torn up by the water, and the driveway to the houses right across the street from Neosho Collision Center (on McKinney Street) was washed away by the flood.

Neosho Collision Center’s parking lot also was destroyed by the water, as were several vehicles on its lot including one of its two neighborhood watch patrol cars which was washed into a creek and pinned against a McKinney Street bridge near the northeast side of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.

Several roads in Newton County were damaged and made

Floodwaters completely covered the park and College Street.

impassible due to the flooding. Those roads include: Oak Cliff and Knapp, Impala and Trout Farm, Highway NN and Jute, Mink south of Highway D, South Main and Cemetery in Granby, Pineville and Landis, Iris and Falcon, and Gateway at River Road.

“Several bridges were also damaged and impassible, including Heber Road, Park Road, Waterloo, Hebron Road at Fish Bone, and HH and Norway,” said Geller. “We have no idea on the dollar loss for the county, as assessments are still being conducted.”

The Neosho Police Department has currently assigned officers 24/7 to the affected areas making sure that no one is around that isn’t supposed to be.

“At this point, residents need to be aware that people will be coming by their house offering manual labor to fix their flooding issues. Several will be scams,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy advises all residents to make sure the people they hire are licensed through the city and state to do that type of work.

The total calls to 911 for Saturday were 315, and the total administration calls to the Central Dispatch Center (CDC) were 1,058.

“The CDC averages around 6,000 calls a month, and just in one day they received 1,058… think about that,” said Kennedy.

Calvary Baptist in Neosho is currently open to the public as a shelter for those who are displaced and need assistance.

“There for a short period of time, Benton Elementary was open because people had nowhere to go, but once calvary opened they were all sent there,” said Meagan Spangler, director of public relations for Neosho School District.

No campuses by the school district received any flooding, however the school district is taking information of displaced families and students of what they need in order to help assist them.

“We have been working with Barb Lake, with Bright Futures Neosho, who has been helping children get the necessities they need to function,” said Spangler.

By Mattie Link

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