Crookston's flood protection project in 'home stretch'
CROOKSTON, Minn. -- This could be the year that flood protection projects are completed in this water-beleaguered city along the Red Lake River. The 100-year flood protection of Jerome's Addition is scheduled to be finished this year, its second ...
CROOKSTON, Minn. -- This could be the year that flood protection projects are completed in this water-beleaguered city along the Red Lake River.
The 100-year flood protection of Jerome's Addition is scheduled to be finished this year, its second year of work. Jerome's is the city's last major residential area to receive U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-certified protection, following the Woods, Sampson's and Chase-Loring additions.
City leaders also are hoping to finish a smaller project near downtown. The City Council recently authorized the involuntary acquisition of four properties in a two-block stretch of Ash Street, near the entrance to Woods Addition. Six properties were acquired earlier with buyouts from willing sellers.
A non-certified dike, paid for mostly by the state, will be built along that stretch. Erosion of the river bank has eaten away backyards in that area and has necessitated sand-bag dikes in years of high water.
"The dike's purpose is to enhance the flood protection in that area," said Mike MacDonald, the city's community development director. "It's not intended to remove that area from the flood plain."
The top of the Ash Street levee will be at the 100-year flood level. Certified dikes have three feet of freeboard above the 100-year level. Certified dikes mean homeowners with a mortgage aren't required to buy flood insurance.
The city's plans for this year also include a $990,000 repair of two diversion channels that reduce the flow of water through town.
Northeast of downtown is another isolated area where six homes are within the 100-year flood plain. No project is planned for that area, but MacDonald said the city would consider buying the properties if the owners want to sell.
Crookston has been working toward complete protection since the 1980s, MacDonald said. The city narrowly avoided the East Grand Forks-Grand Forks level of devastation in 1997 and had another close call in 2006. Most years during the wet cycle, flood-fighting has been needed.
"We're in the home stretch," MacDonald said. "I never dreamed I'd see it completed during my career. But, God willing, it will be."
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send email to email@example.com .