Eviction Notices Leave Chouteau Bend Residents Searching For New Home

Tuesday, June 21st 2016, 5:54 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The Army Corps of Engineers has posted eviction notices at the Chouteau Bend Recreation Area, forcing residents to find a new place to live by next month.

The park opened 32 years ago, and even though it's supposed to be only for short-term recreation use, some people live there year-round and have for years.

But the Army Corps is ordering everyone out, and people like Della Mae Dally don’t know where they'll end up.

She's still in shock after learning she's got to move.

“We got our notices from the people and, I don't know. It'll work out. It has to. I'm not going to give up, Dalley said.

She and all of her neighbors have to move in 30 days.

The Army Corps of Engineers posted eviction notices Monday after an inspection found electric lines dangling low and raw sewage washing out into the Neosho River.

“We know it's been flowing on the ground out there at certain times, and that's become a real concern for the Corps,” said Terry Rupe with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The park flooded just before New Years. Many of the trailers and RVs were damaged and some of the park's infrastructure was ruined.

6/1/2016 Related Story: Chouteau Bend Recreation Area Drying Out After Historic Rains

The Corps said the flood contributed to the problems, but they started long ago.

Chouteau Bend resident Tony Burleigh said, “My sewage doesn't back up and my toilet flushes, my sink runs and I have water. Every once in a while the electric goes off, but whose don't?”

Burleigh said he pays $200 a month and has lived in the park for five years. He doesn't have the money to move; and like many of his neighbors, he doesn't know what to do next.

Dalley said, “And I really hate to go, but if they say you've got to go, you have to find something to do.”

The Corps plans to keep the boat ramps open but won't make a decision on what to do with the rest of the property until it's cleared out.

They said because of the short notice they're willing to work with residents on a plan to leave.