Central Platte NRD Takes Over Downtown Grand Island for First-Ever Flood Control Stroll

5 min read

This spring, floodwaters tore through the Midwest, devastating communities. Among the states hardest hit, Nebraska saw many of its communities and farms destroyed, houses and livelihoods underwater, and roads, bridges, and dams washed away. 

And yet, in the midst of state-wide flooding, Grand Island, Nebraska, a city historically prone to severe flood events, remained largely untouched. Their resilience was possible largely in thanks to two major flood risk reduction projects: the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Flood Risk Reduction Project and the Wood River Diversion Project.  

What do you do when you’re one of a few cities that averted major flooding? For the Central Platte Natural Resources District (CPNRD), the answer was simple: Use the opportunity to educate citizens on flood mitigation and safety.  

 

collage image of flood control stroll participants enjoying the event

 

The Flood Control Stroll: 

To create lasting community awareness of flood mitigation, the CPNRD partnered with local businesses, artists, and music festival Hear Grand Island to create an interactive educational experience dedicated to flood safety, flood mitigation, and spreading the concept of residual risk. 

How it Worked: 

Six stops. Six questions about flood mitigation and safety. When attendees went to all stops and answered the questions, they were entered to win raffles from local businesses and museums.   

Participants began at Wave Pizza Company where they received a map, regional flood information, and good-luck handshake. They then made their way through downtown Grand Island stopping at each of the CPNRD’s partner businesses. For many, this was their first exposure to information about flood safety, flood insurance, and the basics of flood mitigation structures. To drive the information home, business partners created flood and resilience-themed specials for the event. The “Dam Ham Sandwich,” “Hold the Levee Lager,” “Lifeboat Pizza,” and “Flood Control Coney” were some of our personal favorites.  

At the end of the stroll, participants submitted their lucky tickets for raffles and were treated to live music courtesy of Hear Grand Island. Even though the ending time for the event was 7:30pm, the impact of the stroll on the downtown community was felt all evening as concert-goers continued to ask questions about flood mitigation. CPNRD Assistant General Manager Jesse Mintken even introduced one of the bands. 

Event Art: 

In honor of the event, Jackie Bowen of The Happy Brush and the Grand Island YMCA daycare program created a chalk art stream running the length of the Flood Control Stroll. Daycare students created chalk drawings of the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Project’s six flood control structures, as well as some unrelated masterpieces. The art served as the guide through the stroll. 

The CPNRD partnered also with local artist and owner of Studio K Gallery, Karen Neppl to create “Flood Wings.” The mural sets the skyline of Grand Island safely away from the harm of flooding. The “Flood Wings” commemorates Grand Island’s resilience during the flood event and pay homage to those who kept their communities, homes, and livelihoods safe. 

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woman standing in front of flood wings mural at flood control stroll
chalk stream painted through downtown grand island for the flood control stroll
kids drawing on sidewalks with chalk for the flood control stroll
young girl showing chalk art drawing at the flood control stroll

Floodsafe-cpnrd.org was the home base for the event and features event info, flood resources for homeowners and families, and details on the Upper Prairie Silver Moores Project. The website will continue to play a role in local mitigation education as floodplain maps are revised in coordination with FEMA and many residents’ homes are no longer considered in the floodplain.

Visit Flood-Safe CPNRD Website

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screen mockup of floodsafe-cpnrd.org website map showing potential flood damages
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