Heavy rain, flooding impacts area businesses

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Water is still on the rise along portions of the Iowa River, and it’s the unseasonable rain and floodwaters that is causing one business to close up early.

The only road leading to Bobbers Grill in Scales Point Marina was slowly covering with water Thursday afternoon as areas around it were starting to be swallowed up. Bobbers is located north of North Liberty by where the Iowa River feeds into the Coralville Lake.

“These are our weekend camping spots. Every single one of those is underwater.  This entire parking lot is pretty much underwater,” Joshua Urban, Bobber’s general manager, said examining the surrounding property.

The flowing water means Bobbers Grill will soon be Bobbers Island.

“This isn’t normal for the last four seasons and this late in the season is very abnormal,” Urban said. He said the water was the highest its been since he’s worked there under the new owners starting back in July of 2013.

On Thursday night, employees were supposed to be preparing for the last night of business. The plan was to sell off perishable items before closing up for the season due to flooding. Bobbers Grill was set to originally close on October 28 before reopening in January.

“The forecast went up another two feet, unfortunately. So, we found out pretty early this morning that not only were we not going to do that, we were pretty much done for the season,” Urban said.

On top of the flooding, the heavy rains have made business difficult for the bar and marina. Urban said difficult was an understatement.

“Labor Day is when it all kind of went south this year,” he said.

Urban said Labor Day is one of their busiest weekends but heavy rains canceled a music act and kept things slow.

“Because the water has been coming up for the better part of the last month.. we’ve had to refund numerous weekend camp spots. We’ve lost out on a good amount of seasonals that would stay in the month of October but they can’t anymore,” he said.

Last weekend, Urban said the owners and marina manager were notified that the grounds would soon flood. That meant they were going to have to get over 150 boats out of the water as fast as possible. It took over ten volunteers and in under 72 hours, it was done.

“I think in one day they got 25 houseboats off the water which I don’t know if there is a world record for it but I’m guessing they hit it,” Urban said.

Urban said the water isn’t expected to get into the bar. However, he said barriers remain up around the bar all year round.

“We’re on our toes just in case,” he said.

Bobbers isn’t the only business affected by the flooding. Down south in Washington County, the VFW in Riverside has been closed for five days now. Water has overflowed onto the roadway cutting off access to the building.

VFW Quartermaster Steve Miller said the building itself is protected by a flood wall that was gifted to them a few years back by Washington Riverboat Foundation. The VFW hopes to reopen on Sunday.

Jalyn Souchek

Jalyn Souchek

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