New bridge not enough to keep some businesses open along Riverfront

By Marshanna Hester

April 24, 2013 Updated Apr 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Access to Riverfront Village would be water under the bridge in case of flooding for developer Mike Wisdom.

That was the thought four months ago, when he installed the structure that cost thousands.

There would only be a problem if there was historic flooding. That problem is now here.

"It looked like a great investment on Thursday when the flood was pegged at 25 feet and and suddenly when it shot up to 30 it didn't look quite big enough," he said.

Not big enough means no business for Joe's Crab Shack or activity at the Chamber of Commerce.

But the railroad is allowing Wisdom to construct a scaffolding support from the bridge to the edge of the water.

He said businesses have incurred significant losses and doesn't want it to continue.

"We had to miss one weekend," he continued. "We'd like to get them up and running for this weekend and we feel confident we're going to."

Electricity, water and gas are secure. The transformer is inside a tight water-proof vault.

Reopening will take a bit longer for places like Martini's. The owner tells us they can't get back inside until the water recedes to 25 feet. The good news is it's dry on the inside, thanks to sandbags.

Bradley professor Dr. Joshua Lewer said the lack of production and decrease in sales tax revenue is negative for the local economy.

But clean-up and home improvement industries will keep activity moving.

"It's like the parable of the broken glass," Lewer explained. "It would've been better if the glass never broke right, but when it did break someone had to come out and fix it."

And it's the "fixers" who'll be getting work next.

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