Q: If the Red River reaches the height of a Top 5 flood this year (as some are predicting), will the obelisk in the Greenway at Grand Forks be updated to commemorate the new levels? Has the obelisk ever been changed since it was first erected?
According to John Bernstrom, communications specialist for the city of Grand Forks, there are no plans in place to update the obelisk, which was erected after the historic 1997 flood and which marks the high-water mark of that year.
The years indicated on the obelisk are 1996, 1882, 1979, 1897 and, of course, 1997, the year the Red River crested at a record 54 feet. Meanwhile, the crests of 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2019 all were higher than the crest of 1996, which is the lowest rung on the current stone memorial. The crest of 2011 (49.86 feet) is the third-highest on record, while 2009 (49.33 feet) is the fourth. Last year's crest (46.99 feet) ranks No. 8 all-time.
Bernstrom said there are no plans at present to commemorate more recent high-water marks with some sort of permanent structure or artwork.
"From a monument standpoint, no. But that's not saying someone doesn't come to City Hall and say 'I'm an artist and would like to do this' " he said. "I don't want to make it seem like a permanent, rock-solid no. But it's not like it's in the city budget or anything."
Meanwhile, City Administrator Todd Feland said he would like to see some sort of commemoration of more recent flood crests, but added that he's unsure if it's possible on the existing monument.
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