Iola needs to face the facts on Riverside

Now comes word that Riverside Park is in the flood plain. Everyone surprised please stand and do a cartwheel.
My sainted father took pictures of Allen County Fair pens bravely holding their top rails out of water as he toured around Riverside lake in a flat-bottomed boat in 1951. The dikes kept the water in and turned the park into an outsized bathtub.
That was 58 years ago. But diligent research into Registers of the past will uncover stories of floods that included our park decade after decade.
True, most of those were before John Redmond Dam. But 2007 was just two years ago. Yes, the water came in from the east then. But does it really make sense to spend the money and time it would take to turn the railway roadbed into a river-proof dam? That would cost millions and take years.
The fact is that our park is on a river side. Rivers produce floods. Moreover, as 2009 is in the process of showing us, our climate appears to be changing. Iola has already registered about 45 inches of precipitation. We are now well above our annual average, with two and a half months to go.
We can’t take back the decisions to build a new swimming pool or fix up the community building. And if we can’t insure park buildings because all of those past floods have persuaded FEMA that, sure enough, flooding is a distinct possibility in Riverside Park, 66749, so be it.
We can, however, accept things as they are and not compound our losses. Call it a reality check.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.