Letter to the Editor

Don't forget Big Bass Bend situation

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dear Editor:

There are a minimum of 68 full time residences and 48 homes in Big Bass Bend, some of which are vacation homes. Homes range from very nice new homes to old farm homes. Residents range from elementary school age to upper 80s. They were cut off from Shell Knob, mail, utility service, emergency services, trash pick up, and school bus for 4 months because the only road to town was under water.

The US Army Corp of Engineers does not allow residents to build on privately owned property below 936 elevation. The surface of the bridge is 929 elevation. The COE does not regulate roads around the lake, re Gregg Oller, Supervisor. The state will not get involved, it is a Barry County issue, re State Representative David Sater, 68th District.

The two Barry County commissioners I know are good men, who have improved and raised the road access to the bridge, thank you till the next flood. Still at 929 elevation and flood high water was 933.6.

An extremely rugged route created from scratch across over a mile of Mark Twain National Forest would cost more than raising the bridge, if permission could be acquired.

The only solution I see is eminent domain to establish an emergency route to 39-4. There is a road that shows on some area maps. It would need clearing and grading. The larger of only two land owners refuses, and has in fact put up a large sign saying, "Snake Preserve." The other, Margie Wells, welcomed helping her neighbors. Must cross the first to get to the other.

Our son, Robert, wife and preschool age daughter lived in Big Bass Bend in 1993. After six weeks of no road access, they moved back to Kansas. The bulk of the realtors in Shell Knob did not live here then. Though required by MREC to disclose adverse facts when selling homes, they may not have known. Will the flood damage property values and sales in the area? Most likely.

Public awareness and pressure on the road commission and county commissioners is all I know to do. Lonnie Vogt has filed an appeal with FEMA, who denied assistance. The area is one mile from Stone County, which was declared a disaster area.


Mary Richardson

Shell Knob, Missouri