More flood acquisitions could be in the cards

Published 11:39 am Sunday, July 17, 2016

At least one city worker is recommending the city acquire homes near Lions Park as part of a flood mitigation project rather than building a flood construction wall.

Public Works Director Steven Lang is recommending the city acquire 17 structures within the floodplain area adjacent to Second Avenue Northeast for an estimated $1.2 million, and the City Council will discuss the plan during it’s Monday work session at City Hall, which will follow the 5:30 p.m. regular board meeting.

“Based on our previous track record with property acquisition, the challenges with offsetting the impacted floodplain and the cost differential between the two options, it would be my recommendation to authorize Option #2, property acquisition,” Lang wrote to the council.

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The other option is to construct a flood wall or levee along Second Avenue, but that would cost $3.2 million.

The city has a long track record of acquiring flood properties through its flood mitigation efforts, as the city has acquired 163 buildings, according to Lang. He reported the Federal Emergency Management Agency performed a loss avoidance study that found the city spent $14 million on acquisitions and avoided $38 million in losses from subsequent floods.

“The report concluded that the Losses Avoided Analysis demonstrated the economic viability of the 163 building acquisitions,” Lang wrote in his report to the council.

The city council could decide to follow Lang’s recommendation or it could recommend constructing a flood wall.

The acquisition and flood wall projects would be eligible for 50 percent Minnesota Department of Natural Resources funding with the rest coming from the city’s local option sales tax.

The city’s last major floods were on Sept. 24, 2010, and Sept. 16, 2004, which was a record-breaking event.