24 Highway business owners frustrated with constant flooding but trying to stay positive

SUGAR CREEK, Mo. -- People near 24 Highway say the constant flooding makes it almost impossible to get inside their homes and businesses.

The flooding was so bad Tuesday afternoon, a motorist had to be rescued from the rising waters.

“We actually been here 18 years. Every time it rains it actually does this. But this is the first time I’ve seen it this high,” said Nicole Mitchell who came to see the area.

According to neighbors living along 24 Highway, it doesn’t have to rain much, and it immediately starts flooding.

For Paul Wrabec, owner of Wet Wash Car Wash, he said he’s making the best of the situation.

His business closed for the second time in a week, and he said he's losing thousands of dollars every day. But on Tuesday, he got out his boat, grabbed his fishing pole and caught a few fish along the flooded highway.

“I can’t work. I can’t make any money. I was supposed to go to lake of the Ozark, but why go there when I’m catching fish here?” Wrabec said.

Just next door to Wrabec, the owners of Fairmont Liquors got creative to survey the flood -- they got into a paddle boat to get to their business.

“We weren’t sure how big the flood waters were going to get. We knew we couldn’t get to it by foot,” Thelma Jordan said.

The flooding becoming all too familiar in the area. Business owners say they can count at least nine serious floods in four years.

They said nothing is being done to correct the issue, which they say is man-made.

“Twenty-seven years and we never flooded. The culvert broke. They were fighting over who would fix it. They filled it with gravel,” Jordan said.

“Nobody wants to help us. Independence, MoDOT and Sugar Creek. We are paying taxes, but nobody wants to help us. This happens every year,” Wrabec said.

Wrabec and Jordan said even though things are not in their favor, for now, they will continue to remain positive.

“We are in no win. Might as well catch some fish,” Wrabec said.

The business owners said they are preparing for another round of heavy rain. They expect to be closed for at least the next three days.

They said they are also working to organize more community meetings to discuss the recurring issue.

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