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IN MY HOMETOWN: Devils Lake levee ... Newfolden wind forum ... TRF housing ... Drayton rehab grant ... Cooperstown planning

Devils Lake Corps seeks public opinion on possible levee alignment The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss steps that can be taken to protect the city of Devils Lake if the lake begins to ris...

Devils Lake

Corps seeks public opinion on possible levee alignment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host an open house from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss steps that can be taken to protect the city of Devils Lake if the lake begins to rise again.

The meeting will be held in the basement of the Ramsey County Courthouse in Devils Lake.

The Corps has developed a series of proposed changes to the city's existing dike alignments, including extensions to the east and west edges of the city of 7,200. A map of the proposed changes shows how continuing lake rises and dike realignments would affect the Lakewood, Acorn Ridge and Camp Grafton areas.


The map is a rough, initial draft of potential embankment alignments that could be used to manage the flood risk to the Devils Lake area, according to Bonnie Greenleaf, Corps project manager.

The lake rose nearly 25 feet in elevation, expanding in area by three times, between 1993 and May 2006, when it reached a record of 1,449.2 feet above sea level. While the lake elevation since has dropped to about 1,445.5 feet, geologists and weather forecasters say there's a good chance it could rise past the 2006 level in the next several years.

Current levees protect the city to an elevation of about 1,460 feet.

Studies so far show reliable protection would require modifications to Devils Lake's embankment system. No land acquisitions are in the works yet. Maps of the potential alignments are available online at www.mvp.usace.army.mil/devilslake .

Capt. Adam Rasmussen of the Corps said the input at this week's meeting will be critical in determining who wants protection, at what point Devils Lake residents will be required to buy flood insurance and how to pay additional costs. He said if Devils Lake begins to significantly rise again, embankments would be raised in two stages.

A follow-up meeting, which will provide a detailed review of the proposed Lakewood alignments, will be held Nov. 19.

The Corps expects to select a preferred alternative by January, and to complete the design stage by December 2009.



Wind energy forum set

A wind energy forum will be held in Newfolden, Minn., Wednesday, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Newfolden Community Center.

The event begins with a mini-course, Wind Energy 101. An informational forum will be conducted from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The forum is designed for landowners and others who are interested in wind energy development. It is sponsored by the Northwest Regional Development Commission, in partnership with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Windustry, Minnesota Extension and the Rural Energy Development Initiative.

The forum will help people understand general wind energy in general. It also will address wind rights and development choices.

For more information, call Cam Fanfulik at (218) 745-6733.

Thief River Falls:

TIF, housing project OK'd


The Thief River Falls City Council has approved a Tax-Increment Financing District for a new housing development south of Challenger Elementary School that will include 31 homes.

Under a TIF district, the city pays the cost of public improvements for the development. Property taxes for homeowners in the district are used to pay off the improvements, while taxes that would go to the city and other governments are deferred, until the infrastructure debt is paid off.

The new development is expected to include houses with an estimated market value of about $150,000.


City gets housing rehab grant

The city of Drayton, N.D., has received a $50,000 grant to rehabilitate five houses.

The grant comes from the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the federal Community Development Block Grant program. It will be administered by the Red River Regional Council, based in Grafton.

The money will be used to bring the five homes into compliance with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development housing quality requirements, according to Janet Dvorak, co-coordinator of the project for the Regional Council.


Improvements will include electrical systems and plumbing, as well as some roof, door and window replacement.

Primary beneficiaries of the CDBG funds are low-and moderate-income families and individuals, according to the Department of Commerce.


Community planning meeting set

The Cooperstown (N.D.) Community Development Authority will host a community planning and visioning meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Griggs County Central School.

The meeting will include a review of the past year's visioning plan and accomplishments, according to Becky Meidinger, CCDA development specialist.

The meeting is an annual requirement of the Griggs-Steele Empowerment Zone and its partnership with the CCDA.

Federal empowerment zones get federal money and are guaranteed federal tax breaks to lure businesses. Griggs and Steele counties were designated as an empowerment zone by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1998.



Compiled by Kevin Bonham. Reach him at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com .

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