Forced out of its banks by heavy rains, the Little Miami River spilled out onto Loveland roadways rerouting traffic

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (May 19, 2020) – The Scenic Little Miami River has spilled over her banks again creating not so scenic waterways where automotive traffic usually flows.

Loveland Canoe & Kayak is flooded and Loveland Police have closed flooded roads in the area (Photo credit Brian Lindsay)

Mark & Robyn Bersani, owners of Loveland Canoe & Kayak (LC&K) were on the verge of opening for business this weekend. They’ve worked hard to prepare and plan for safe canoe & kayak trips for customers on The Scenic Little Miami River.

 “We were getting ready to open this weekend,” said Bersani. “We were hoping to open Friday. We’ve been working really hard to prepare everything. We put in the new takeout underneath the bridge. We bought all kinds of sanitizing equipment, seat covers for our vans, and we installed a new online reservation system that will allow people to pay, sign the waiver; all these things to create a touchless environment.”

Loveland Canoe & Kayak owner Mark Bersani wades in knee deep water while co-owner and wife Robyn looks on from balcony above (Photo credit Brian Lindsay)

Instead, the rain fell, the river rose, and LC&K is flooded again. Mark, Robyn, their daughter Elena, and their dogs are all safe and dry at home above the business.

“This thing is a punch in the stomach,” Bersani said. “No other way to describe it. Unfortunately it has become our regular occurrence. The family is safe and we just keep paddling. Sometimes the river sends us calm water, sometimes it sends us whitewater.”

Bersani takes it all in stride. He’s done it before – so many times he may have lost count now. One thing he does not forget is the goodness of his Loveland neighbors always stepping up to lighten the load when the flood waters come raging in.

Robyn Bersani floats safely into their front stairway in a kayak (Photo credit Mark Bersani) 

“I’ve got a picture of Robyn floating into our place in a kayak,” he said. “The folks from Mile 42 brought coffee over to us.They’re so nice.”

 The help doesn’t end there. LSFD Chief Otto Huber already stopped over to check in with a promise to keep an eye on the situation at the ready to help wash away the silt once the waters begin to recede. Bersani was in the midst of a 15-hour drive back from out of town when the river began to show signs of trouble. He’s thankful for the quick and decisive manner his 21 year old livery manager Nate Lawry acted getting help moving equipment out of harm’s way before the water flowed in.

A view looking down from the Bersani’s residence at Mark in the water (Photo credit Mark Bersani)

Water under the RR trestle leading to LC&K (Photo credit Brian Lindsay) 

“He’s such a good kid,” said Bersani. “I don’t know a 21 year old that could think that clearly. I was gone. He didn’t call me. He got some of the boys and prepared just in case. If he hadn’t done that, it would have been a disaster.”

Thanks to the quick thinking and action of Lawry, Mark Bersani was able to let everyone know they are okay. He said “the usual suspects” all called to see if they needed help. The guys from Eads all helped move the heavy stuff before the rise of the river.

Loveland Farmers’ Market had to move this week due to the high water on the parking lot between LC&K and Eads Loveland Hardware (Photo credit Brian Lindsay) 

O’Bannon Creek was on the rise under the bridge behind The Works (Photo credit Brian Lindsay) 

Loveland Police still have many of the roads barricaded due to the water and Loveland Farmer’s Market had to move pick up to Nisbet Park. But when people called to see how the Bersani’s were doing, they didn’t hear a cry for help this time.

“I said, ‘you know what guys, we’re in pretty good shape’,” Bersani said. “Thanks to my smart kid.”

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