RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — As people mourned the loss of 238 loved ones on June 10, 1972, Mayor Barnett and City Council were faced with making big decisions for the community.
“There was just an air of total despair and sadness, we had to make these decisions with tears in our eyes,” former Mayor Don Barnett said
Barnett says the water plant needed to be repaired to prevent diseases, police cars needed to be replaced, and families needed to be relocated.
“So little by little, we brought things back to order. We had about 800 Guardsmen involved in body search and rescue and doing everything conceivable under the sun to bring order to the chaos,” Barnett said.
“There were a lot of things happening out there. It was so chaotic, nobody knew exactly what was happening. You couldn’t see, it was dark, it was a very very long, tiring experience,” Mike Sorenson, former National Guardsman, said.
Barnett said nearly 17-hundred families and 260 businesses needed to be relocated after the flood.
“The embryonic, beginning discussions about that recovery mode and policy started on the morning, June 10, 50 years ago today,” Barnett said.
With all of the tragic memories associated with the 1972 flood, Barnett says it’s important to realize how the city came together to build back Rapid City.
Barnett says the city council made the decision to not allow homes to be built along Rapid Creek just two days after the flood.