(Brian Kelly, KMOX)

4th of July becomes crucial opening weekend for Metro East towns shutdown since April

Grafton Mayor Rick Eberlin estimates business is down between 80-100% and a handful of businesses believe they won't be able to recover from the lost profits.

July 02, 2019 - 11:37 am

GRAFTON, Ill. (KMOX) - Many Metro East communities are racing to clean up as water from the second-highest flood in recorded history is finally receding. They're trying to beat the crowds and tourists who are expected to visit for the holiday weekend.

LOOK: NASA shows side-by-side comparison photos of Midwest flooding

KMOX’s Brian Kelly was in the area east of downtown St. Louis and learned how vital it is for the towns to get as much done as they can by this holiday weekend.

Grafton has practically been shutdown since April because of floodwater. They've already missed big holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Mother's and Father's Day.

Grafton, Ill. Mayor Rick Eberlin estimates business has been down 80 to 100 percent and a handful of businesses believe they won't be able to recover from the lost profits. 

Related: Best places in St. Louis area to watch fireworks this 4th of July

Saturday's night's big fireworks display at 9 p.m. will also be the unofficial opening of tourist season, after missing out on months of potential business. Unfortunately, the floodwaters will keep many viewing areas closed, such as the levee that many people usually sit on top of. It is too stressed due high water. 

Downstream in Alton, the Great River Road is still closed, but the visitor's center has reopened after being cut off by the flood wall since May 29th.

Raging Rivers WaterPark opens on Wednesday, more than a month after its originally scheduled opening.

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