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Elm's Hotel, other parts of Excelsior Springs deal with flood damage

Elm's Hotel flooding
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 18:29:58-04

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo.  — Cleanup and repairs are underway in Excelsior Springs after the area suffered heavy flooding on Thursday.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time the town has been hit.

Many people are still reeling from storm damage several weeks ago. They woke up Friday morning to rushing water and flooded fields and parking lots.

"I feel like the cute little town just can't catch a break," Excelsior Springs resident Janissa said.

One of the town's staples, the Elm's Hotel and Spa, suffered major damage to its indoor lap pool.

General Manager John Mormino said he and other staff worked diligently to sandbag the area in the early morning hours, but it wasn't enough.

"You could just hear the water running in like a waterfall off of the steps down to the area as it was filling up and it’s honestly, unfortunately a very helpless feeling," Mormino said.

Mormino said staff members were able to save some of the spa equipment and have since set up massage services in some of the hotel's rooms.

It could be several weeks or longer before the pool is back in commission.

For Mormino, this isn't his first rodeo with damaging flood water from the nearby Fishing River.

He said Friday's flooding reminded him of a similar flood in 2015. The experience taught him to be prepared for the future.

"We know the river's there, we know it's come up before so we prepare for it and in that moment you go into immediate strategic thinking, sandbags, plywood, plastic," Mormino said.

Mormino is thankful the rest of the historic hotel was untouched.

"The Elms has survived it all and it’ll rebound from this as well, we have a fantastic ownership, they are on their way here as we speak and they are very prideful about making sure this hotel is at its best for not just our guests but for our community as well," Mormino said.

Friday's flooding was a very different start to what was supposed to be a fun and exciting weekend. The town had to cancel its annual Waterfest, which is always a boost for businesses and a fun time for the community.

Wood Heights Fire Chief Lee O'Dell also works as a tow truck driver and had been out for nearly 24 hours straight assisting with water rescues and towing cars that were flooded.

O'Dell said many people are likely sad to miss out on the Waterfest for the second year in a row, but the town is resilient.

"We will get everything cleaned up, it hurts a little bit now, but we'll get everything cleaned up and be back to normal in no time," O'Dell said.