Archived Story

Plans draw forth a flood of ideas

Published 8:44am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dutch VanProosdy, our president, tells bad jokes, but everybody has to laugh at them or get fined.

Nobody plays the piano like Chuck Enger. Of course, he plays the same song at each meeting, so he’s bound to be good at it.

The HyVee catering crew serves the best food and there’s no better waitress than Alice Moldenhauer.

For a single dollar investment, you have the opportunity to be razzed and humiliated, when your number is drawn in the Tail Twisters’ drawing and the other members get jealous it wasn’t their number drawn.

And there are interesting programs with guest speakers who inform, enlighten and occasionally dumbfound the audience. The quality of the program depends on who is willing to spend an hour with us for a free meal and a coffee cup.

Last week, a prominent Austin public servant was the guest speaker. I can’t mention his name, because I am afraid of the guy.

The subject was how the city is dealing with flood concerns.

I was in one in August 1993, when I came home from the Mower County Fair on a Sunday afternoon and discovered my house on First Street Southeast surrounded by rapidly rising water.

The Cedar River was supposed to flow under the swinging bridge a block away and not my living room.

The city has made strides to prevent floods from damaging more residences and businesses.

There are berms on the west side of East Side Lake.

There are berms around a lift station near Packers Arena.

There are berms around berms.

The city has a 20-year plan to address flooding concerns.

At the current rate of flooding in Austin, that could mean another ten 100-year floods from now.

The most immediate focal point of the city’s plan is to protect important commercial and industrial properties in the North Main area.

The city’s flood mitigation plan is all well and good, but it doesn’t go far enough quickly enough.

Here are some ides that could help. You can thank me later.

1. Forget about all other businesses. Hormel Foods Corporation facilities must be saved. Stack them atop all the studies, plans and Power Point presentations, which have been conducted about how to solve Austin’s flooding problems since 1978.

2. Build a “Bridge to Somewhere Dry” as a backup. Maybe, they can re-assemble the old pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks in Dutch Town.

3. Build a fleet of Spam town Belles.

4. Waterproof the Mower County Jail and Justice Center as a precaution. It’s not in the flood plain, but, God forbid, flood waters interrupt inmates playing basketball and swapping tips about successful home burglaries.

5. Invite immigrants to Austin. I am speaking of little Dutch boys, who could plug any holes in the downtown floodwall with their fingers.

6. Issue hip waders to all residents except people who talk on cell phones in grocery stores. And pit bulls.

7. Issue umbrellas to local birders. This has nothing to do with flooding, but I think flood concerns have caused us to overlook another pending problem: birds falling from the sky.

8. Build the world’s largest sponge and position it up river at Mapleview. The Mapleview Lounge and Bottle Shop must be saved so people to have a place to go to reflect on where we screwed up the next time a flood occurs.

9. Reroute the Cedar River channel and send the water around Austin to Adams.

10. Hey! I’m no fool: See Number One.

Can I get an “Amen” please?

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