1/2 Nelson and Bootleg Hill owners are thankful their storefront sits on higher ground

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Downtown business owners hit by the flood are working around the clock to make sure water doesn’t seep into their storefronts.

When the city floods the only way to make it to storefronts on Second Street is by boat.

Jacob Shinn has made the trip from the makeshift pier on to the back side of Bootleg Hill Honey Meads about a dozen times every day since the levee broke.

“We have a crew of six people here who have been working two men each shift,” says Shinn of WSR Construction Services.

People are at 1/2 Nelson and Bootleg Hill 24/7 to work and keep the water outside the building from bursting in.

“We’ve created barriers with sandbags and plastic, but that only stops so much,” Shinn says.

From the first floor you can see their work has paid off – everything is dry, and pumps are working.  But the basement is completely full of water all the way to the top step.

½ Nelson owner, Matthew Osborn was ready to open the day the levee breached.

“1993 seemed like the mythic thing that would never happen again,” Osborn comments.

Osborn put $1.5 million into his new restaurant and he was able to salvage a lot.

“I feel lucky,” says Osborn. “In comparison to a lot of our neighbors who don’t occupy a building like ours.”

“We are lucky we are higher up,” says Bootleg Hill Honey Meads owner, Rick Harris. “There was about 4 inches of water all over the place.”

Currently, pumps run throughout both restaurants and the furniture is lifted off the ground in case of any seepage.

“Last night was the first night I didn’t have to sleep in the restaurant myself,” says Osborn, putting the flood into perspective.

With this flood it’s about the little wins as everyone goes with the flow and take it day by day.

“I can see the top of the fire hydrant on the street, I can see the wheel wells on that car or something like that.  That means a lot to us,” says Osborn.

Both owners are still unsure how much damages will cost or when they will reopen.

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