FOLEY, Mo. – Once the Mississippi River starts to recede this week from another great flood, the tiny river towns that dot its banks in Missouri and Illinois will once again face the question: return and rebuild, or relocate?It’s a tough choice in places like Foley, a hamlet of fewer than 300 people an hour’s drive northwest of St. Louis. Normally, the Big Muddy swims by at a comfortable distance. But for the second time in 15 years, a wet winter bleeding into a wet spring pushed the river well past its banks, causing a summer flood that swamped dozens of low-lying houses and forced residents to flee. With the river still running high, the shock and pain of the flood make it hard to think about whether to leave, said Foley Mayor Bill Thornhill. But in a town where no one is rich or a stranger, economics and a strong sense of belonging are prompting most to say they’ll stay. Join the Conversation:
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