ST. LOUIS — When the doors open at Community Lifeline's storage garage, there are stacks of donated drywall. The shipment from Lowe's is destined to rebuild hundreds of Metro East homes damaged by flash flooding.
"The last few weeks have been very busy, and even sometimes overwhelming," Community Lifeline SEO Wyvetta Granger said.
Granger says she's optimistic about historic funding, hopeful for the day when they can slow down.
"I would be happy to give that up. I am happy to get back to a sense of normalcy," she said of the flood recovery efforts which -- for some -- are the only "normal" they know.
"I am 60 years of age, and it has taken this long to fix the problem," Cahokia Heights Mayor Curtis McCall Sr. said, adding that they "finally have the funding."
McCall joined his East St. Louis counterpart, Mayor Robert Eastman III standing alongside Senator Dick Durbin as they announced millions in federal funds. Durbin called it the most funding the area has ever received for flooding.
"The problem is not just water. The problem is history," Durbin said.
Durbin says the money totals more than $50 million with the largest portion provided by American Rescue Plan funding.
Durbin says they're working with the Army Corps of Engineers to fix the sewer system issues, assess the flood plain, and make sure that routine flooding comes to an end.
"Harding Ditch," he singles out as a problem. "That relates back to President Harding. That's 100 years ago. And that ditch has been a mess almost ever since. We have got to start taking this out and putting in new pump stations and thank goodness the colonel is here and knows how to do that."
"As we saw here within the last few weeks, mother nature will have her way. But there are actions we can do to minimize those effects and reduce future flood risk," Colonel Kevin R. Golinghorst, US Army Corps of Engineers, said.