Skip to site content
The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Council Bluffs: A season on the brink

Courtesy Council Bluffs CVB

It’s been a nerve-wracking summer for western Iowa. The Missouri River has flooded many areas as water is released upstream to relieve pressure on the Gavins Point Dam in Yankton, S.D., caused by above-average snowmelt and rainfall.

By mid-July, the levies built to protect Council Bluffs after its last devastating flood, 60 years ago, were holding, but volunteers continued to make and stockpile sandbags in the parking lot of the Mid-America Center. Sandbags are piled high around the convention facility, which is not on the river but close enough to be flooded.

”We’re trying to get a good number stacked up, just in case,” said Angie Kistaitis, director of sales.

Although a few motorcoach tours opted to skirt the area, most meetings and events continued as planned.

The flooding has caused road closures north and south of the city, making the drive into Council Bluffs longer for some. Part of the parking garage at Harrah’s Casino was underwater in July and the riverboats that house the Ameristar and Harrah’s casinos were floating “a little higher than normal,” said Josee Beier with the Council Bluffs Convention and Visitors Bureau.