Some Shoal Creek businesses opening back up after flood

The raging water left the banks of Shoal Creek last week and did serious damage to the businesses the Shoal Creek Saloon.

"It took out some of our equipment and some of our furniture," said General Manager Aimee Elbrecht.

Elbrecht says after evacuating Memorial Day afternoon, they finally re-opened on Saturday with some new furniture and a new parking lot. The old one was washed away.

"We had a lot of our staff that came and helped clean up. We even had a regular or two that stopped in and helped us out as well," Elbrecht said.

But some businesses aren't so fortunate.

For the Austin-based Whole Earth Provision Company, their doors will be closed for a while.

"Uh that's the unfortunate part. It pains me to say this but it sounds like it's going to be 2 and a half to 3 months which is just...unreal," said manager Eric Feldkamp.

Feldkamp says they lost a huge amount of merchandise. Some of their items have since been found in Shoal Creek.

"Well it was 3 and a half feet throughout the store. So the water...the current in there, it actually blew out a bunch of the windows," Feldkamp said.

Ted Siff, the board president for the Shoal Creek Conservancy says after the 1981 flood that was actually much worse, the city started working on the creek.

"The city has done a lot over the last 34 years. Unfortunately even with all of what it's done, the flood happened last Monday with less than half the amount of rainfall," Siff said.

According to the Austin Watershed Protection Department, one of those ideas is a tunnel that could cost more than $100 million to build. But they'll be looking at other options as well. They hope to bring a preliminary engineering study in front of council in the next couple of years.

District 9 city council member Kathie Tovo says they'll be looking at the options.

"What those ideas will look like, I think is still uncertain. But clearly, we will need to look at that situation and see how to prevent it in the future or how to at least mitigate it," Tovo said.

Siff says it needs to be a creek-based flood mitigation plan.

"What appears to be clear is that there's no silver bullet, one solution. It looks like there's going to need to be a lot of individual solutions for different parts of the creek. The creek didn't flood everywhere," Siff said.

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