Archive for  August 5th 2018

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Several bars, restaurants, a music venue and other businesses in the Court Avenue entertainment district had to close their doors on the busiest day of the weekend due to a water main break.

“Obviously water is a big part. You’ve got to wash dishes. Water goes into different products and additionally you have to be able to have bathrooms that function. So it’s a hard stop if you can’t provide those simple basics. Then you just can’t do business,” General Manager of Fong’s Pizza Nicholas Brink said.

Brink said only two cases of beer were damaged and there was a little water in the basement, but the downtown location is closed until the street is reopened and water is flowing again.

“The fourth and court area really is the heart of the downtown entertainment district. Fortunately it looks like it’s relatively isolated off just a block or so. So hopefully the whole area isn’t that affected, but it’s too bad especially late on a Saturday that you can’t have late night Fong’s slices. We’ll be back up and doing it as soon as we can,” Brink said.

Affected businesses that are closed as of Saturday:

  • Vaudeville Mews
  • Java Joe’s
  • Fong’s Pizza
  • Bernardo’s Burritos
  • Royal Mile
  • Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing
  • Dapper DSM
  • Pints

Vivian’s Diner and Drinks and Wasabi Tao are the only two business open on that block because they are on a different water main.

“I’ve talked to most of the hotels down here to let them know we are open and kind of give them the lay of the land. A lot of the other restaurants down here have been pushing reservations our way, so they can still accommodate the people downtown because there’s still a lot of the AAU people in town,” Owner of Vivian’s Jeff Duncan said.

Duncan said Even though several businesses took a hard hit, they’re thankful no one was seriously injured.

“I think we can all say we were fortunate. If you look at the farmers market and the crowd that was down here an hour before that, the gaping hole out there, people could have fallen in it. People could have gotten seriously hurt. The fact that nobody was on the street at the time it was a blessing,” Duncan said.

DES MOINES, Iowa — A water main break spoiled the fun at the downtown farmers market Saturday sending thousands of gallons of water rushing into the Court Avenue District.

“It was just like a soft rumble and then it like shook a little bit” said Abigail Kroll.

Kroll was working her first farmers market shift at Java Joes…the noise she heard was a water main breaking right outside her door.

“We looked down and we thought it was like coffee that had spilled or something and then it just flooded the whole street and everybody started yelling and it was an adrenalin rush of getting anything inside” said Kroll.

The water came up within seconds, and sent vendors scrambling to save their inventory.

“A lot of people were hustling around and I saw the water coming up from the middle of the street like a fountain and lots of people were running around trying to pick stuff up. The water was coming like a waterfall” said Madison Dillon.

Within minutes the water was ankle deep in some spots. Vendors and patrons alike helped each other move their items and bring them to dry land. After the rush to clear things out of the street it came time to survey the damage.

“The street was just going up and the street had like, waves underneath of it you could see the cement moving, it was crazy!” said Dillon.

Des Moines Water Works was able to cut the flow of water and the streets drained quickly, but a large sinkhole was left in its wake.

“The road buckled from the pressure of the water, so fourth street will be blocked between court and walnut for an undetermined amount of time” said Lieutenant Joseph Leo.

Crews are now working to fix the pipe, check gas lines, and make sure nearby buildings didn’t sustain damage. No one was injured, and police say the people who were there responded well.

“I guess anytime for a water main break is a bad time but it complicates it when there’s a lot of activity, but everyone did a good job and we appreciate their cooperation” said Leo.

A more exciting end to the downtown farmers market than most people would have liked to see.