Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Flood planning – lessons from a soggy past
Feb. 7, 2011

By Starrla Cray
Staff Writer

DELANO, MN – Delano city officials aren’t hoping for high water in the years ahead, but they want to be prepared if – and when – the floods hit.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, the council gave city staff permission to apply with the state of Minnesota for grant-matching improvement funds, with the help of Rep. Joe McDonald and Sen. Amy Koch.

“We developed a wish list,” city administrator Phil Kern said at a work session prior to the council meeting. “If we could solve a vast majority of the flood issues, this shows what we would do and what it would take.”

The total estimated cost of all the items is $8,891,680.

Applying for the 50 percent matching grant doesn’t mean the city is obligated to make the improvements. Projects are categorized into varying levels of urgency, and each one would be considered and budgeted individually.

Fourteen areas were identified as needing immediate corrective action, at a combined cost of $444,110.

After last year’s flood, city staff identified spots that were most problematic, and also researched locations that would have been an issue if the floodwaters had been a few feet higher.

“After last year’s flood, it allowed us a good learning experience,” Kern said, adding that the city is hoping to eventually implement improvements that would reduce the likelihood of flooding, in order to protect property and infrastructure.

“We don’t anticipate we’re going to get these things accomplished before this year’s flood,” Kern said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reports a high probability of flooding in Delano this year.

According to Kern, the city has an 80 percent chance of reaching flood stage, which is 18.9 feet. Last year’s flood level was 20.3 feet.

Kern also said that NWS hydrologist Diane Cooper recommended planning for more than that, because it is likely to be a wet spring.

The city’s website has a map of the town showing spot elevations.

For more information, go to www.delano.mn.us.

Enhanced web presence
Residents who utilize the city website will see some changes in upcoming months.

The council approved a quote of $6,000 from Intrcomm Technology and Five Technology for updates and improvements to the city’s website.

The council also approved a quote of about $3,000 for the development of an economic development website, which would have a different look and feel than the city website

The current city website, which was set up about six years ago, is somewhat limited in its capabilities, according to Kern.

The updated site will allow users to do a keyword search for topics discussed at past city council meetings. From there, users will be able to watch videos of the meeting.

Past council meeting videos and agendas are the most commonly hit items on the city’s website, Kern said.

“Since people are going for that information, we’d like to present it in a better fashion,” he said.

The city also plans to have online building permitting and other features designed to help residents.

The economic development website will be a new, separate project, with the intention of drawing in new residents.

“We view that as a marketing tool,” Kern said, adding that it would advance the efforts of the chamber of commerce and the Dream Team II.

Odds and ends
In other business, the council:

• approved installation of R-38 cellulose insulation in the attic/ceiling of the old village hall from the lowest bidder, Performance Foam Insulation. The city expects that the insulation will provide a significant savings in heating and cooling costs of the building.

• approved a public facilities lease for the use of Delano Central Park, the hamburger stand, and restrooms for the sixth annual Tour de Tonka run Saturday, Aug. 6. Minnetonka Community Education Director Tim Litfin requested the use of the space for the event, which is a multi-distanced ride through several area communities. About 500 to 750 bikers are expected to pass through Delano that day, stopping for healthy snacks between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

• authorized a five-month on-sale liquor license, Sunday on-sale liquor license, and dance/music licenses to Guadalupe (Lupe) Castro for Mucho Amigo Mexican Restaurant and bar, located at 248 River St. N. Castro has held a 3.2 beer and wine license at 45 Babcock Blvd. W. under the business name El Cazadar.

“I’m so pleased that there’s going to be another restaurant downtown,” council member Betsy Stolfa said.

• approved a quote of $670 to $695 from Total Printing for printing of the Delano city newsletter.

• authorized the purchase of a dual server/work station from Intrcomm Tech for $1,019 for the point of sales (POS) software for the Delano municipal liquor store. POS is used for inventory and receipts. The computer/server also serves as a workstation for assistant manager Dale Ronning.

• approved the park and recreation committee request to work with the Delano arts and culture committee on a 2011 sculpture project, which will be facilitated with Zoran Miloslav (designer of the Bridge Avenue entrance monuments).

The committee and Miloslav plan to work with Delano Middle School seventh grade art students to create a large art structure to be displayed in the community.

The committee plans to submit a grant application to fund the project (due Wednesday, Feb. 9). If the project proceeds, the park and recreation committee will review potential sites for the structure.

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