SPRINGDALE, Utah (ABC4) – After assessing damage, officials are realizing Springdale was hit harder than they thought, after flash floods swept through Zion National Park and the town earlier this week.
Stewart Ferber says he has to knock down his recently remodeled lodge of 47 years, after the flash flood took him by surprise. Ferber says he hasn’t seen a storm this bad in Springdale since 1982.
“As we were leaving, we heard the doors crash open and the water just came rushing in,” says Ferber.
Ferber says he spent a million dollars and worked with FEMA and the state to build this drainage system, which usually brings water back into the river. But he says this time around, it started clogging by the curb and gutter near the townhall, across the street.
“If there was no curb and gutter, it possibly could have went back into the ditch around that boulder, but it jumped on the road and it is what it is,” he says.
The Mayor of Springdale, Stan Smith, says there’s not much that could have been done to prevent the severe flooding that took place.
“Unless there was an unobstructed wash all the way down, which we can’t do because we have SR-9 that we have to cross, it’s just feasibly impossible,” says Smith,
Smith says 10 employee cars floated at the townhall and most are totaled. The town is now working with the state to possibly find better ways to manage flash floods.
“It’s not an easy thing, especially when you have a state route road and 4.5 million people, when are you going to shut that off because there’s only one way in through Springdale,” says Smith.
But Ferber says he’s moving forward and plans to re-build with a new lodging concept.
“We’re out of business, the Zion Campfire Lodge is out of business, I’ve reassigned the housekeepers to my other hotels, we’ll never fire anybody, now we’re obviously over staffed but no one is going to lose their job,” says Ferber.