Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mopping Up in the Valley Chesterfield Firms Face Huge Task

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mopping Up in the Valley Chesterfield Firms Face Huge Task

Article excerpt

At 7 each morning and 7 each night, two school buses rumble past police checkpoints into the deluged Chesterfield Valley.

On board are employees of Mark Andy Inc. on their way to rebuild the company's flooded factory at 18081 Chesterfield Airport Road.

It was just three weeks ago that the Missouri River plowed through the water-logged Monarch Levee on Chesterfield's western edge and engulfed 300 businesses that called the flatlands home.

With the waters now receding, employees of Mark Andy and some of those other businesses are returning to begin what promises to be a lengthy and difficult clean-up.

While the Army Corps of Engineers prepares to repair the Monarch Levee as one of its top priorities on the Missouri River, the flooded businesses are regrouping.

Many of those companies have relocated to temporary quarters elsewhere. Some are unsure whether they will ever return to the Chesterfield Valley - a subject of great concern to city leaders.

Others, especially those like Mark Andy that have invested heavily in their facilities, say they will come back.

In fact, 25 influential business executives have formed their own committee to look out for their own futures and the future of the valley as a whole.

The group, optimistically named the Phoenix Forum, is named after the mythological bird that rises from the ashes. The bird is a symbol of immortality and renewal.

Back at Mark Andy's labeling-machine factory, two shifts a day of company employees and hired contractors are busy leading a resurrection of a different sort.

They are scrubbing, mopping and refurbishing in their effort to reopen the plant and put the flood behind them.

At first, the stench and humidity nearly strangled the workers. With no electricity, the crews were forced to truck in a huge generator to power dehumidifiers, lights and cleaning equipment.

"There was muck all over the place," said John Eulich, Mark Andy's president.

Not to mention oodles of frogs and a dead bat. The floodwater peaked at nearly 4 1/2 feet in the Mark Andy complex, which sits higher than most of the rest of the valley. …

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