DAVENPORT, Iowa-- The Davenport Parks and Recreation Department was busy today, preparing Credit Island for the Mississippi River to flood. The National Weather Service predicts it'll crest on Sunday, March 17 at 18.1 feet.
"We try to keep the island open as long as we can," Senior Parks Manager Betsy Tubbs says. "As you may have noticed, it tends to be a very popular place. Once we get our flood preparation in place, we just kind of wait around."
Visitors to the island Thursday were turned away by locked gates. The entire island will be closed on Friday, March 15.
Parks and rec crews also moved picnic tables to higher ground and sandbagged the historic Credit Island Lodge.
"There's a lot of history here," Tubbs says. "A lot of people are very fond of the island, have fond memories growing up here on the island."
One memory that sticks out for Tubbs is the lodge fire in 2013. The fire, ruled accidental, engulfed the lodge and some thought it would be a complete loss.
It was restored then reopened in 2015 with some flood-proof additions. The duct and electrical work are raised off the ground. Little floodgates were installed in the walls to help equalize the pressure for heavy flooding. It cost a little more than $1.5 million.
"Nobody wanted to spend that kind of money, rebuild and have it damaged by the next flood," Tubbs says. "We've become smarter flood fighter so it's not as traumatic as it used to be."
Tubbs says the lodge shouldn't be too affected by the crest coming up this weekend. But this spring could see some historic river levels.
"If we have a potentially record-breaking one next month it might be pretty traumatic," she says. "And we already know we're anticipating another possibly record-breaking flood here in April."
It's something Tubbs says her team and Credit Island Lodge will be ready for.
The Parks and Recreation Department doesn't have a definite timeline for when the park could reopen. Tubbs says the main road into the park floods at 15 feet. The National Weather Service predicts the Mississippi will be at 15 feet for at least another week.