West side flood protection improvements nearing completion
Submitted by Phil Kern
Delano City Administrator
DELANO, MN The City of Delano is nearing completion on the west side flood protection project, parts of which have been in the planning stages for decades.
One of the final elements, the acquisition and relocation agreement with Leland and Sons, LLC, was successfully completed Jan. 11.
Final grading of the levee, scheduled for the spring of 2011, will result in better flood protection for all the remaining businesses and homes along Highway 12 west of the river.
The main objective has been to protect the health and safety of the city, its residents, businesses, and infrastructure and to make this section of the Highway 12 corridor a more viable place than ever to have a business, without the threat of a catastrophic flood.
One of the principal concerns of the city was the relocation of existing businesses and residents in the floodplain acquisition area so they could continue to live in or conduct a successful business in Delano in a safer location away from the floodplain.
The city was able to reach relocation agreements with all of the property owners, including six businesses, and successfully found new homes for the two residential property owners that wished to stay in the community.
The city reached an agreement with the last property owner Leland and Sons last week, wrapping up over four-and-a-half years of discussions and negotiations.
The agreement includes $850,000 for the acquisition of the property. A court-appointed panel of commissioners considered the positions of both the city and Leland and Sons in determining this amount.
The agreement also included $97,450 for costs and interest incurred by Leland and Sons, during the acquisition and relocation process.
Lastly, Leland and Sons has been provided an additional $204,620 by the city for assistance to relocate its business, to replace immovable equipment, to advertise, and to pay for other essentials associated with establishing a new location.
The city wishes Leland and Sons, as well as all those relocated by this project, the best of success in a new location, and invites it to remain in Delano in a location safe from floodwaters.
Delano last sustained a major flood with significant private and public losses in 1965. Since that time, several other flood events have occurred that would have also caused significant damage if not for the levee built by community members in 1969.
In April 2001, the flood levee protecting Delano nearly suffered a near catastrophic failure immediately adjacent to Leland and Sons Auto Repair.
This levee currently protects over 19 Delano businesses and 10 homes along Highway 12, from the Dairy Queen to the American Legion and Buffalo Street. Thankfully, dedicated city employees, a swift emergency response, and good fortune prevented that.
The city made an immediate repair to the levee, which included dumping over 110 tons of boulders on the erosion point behind Leland and Sons Auto Repair to prevent it from breaking.
Following the 2001 and 2002 floods, the city was faced with a difficult decision: take no action and continue the high risk to businesses and homes, or take action to reduce the risk.
In 2005, the city embarked on a mission to take action and improve the city’s flood prevention ability. The plan for the Highway 12 area was to relocate businesses and homes between the highway and the river, solidify the levee, construct the west side lift station pump, and improve flood protection for all its businesses and residents.
The State of Minnesota recognized Delano’s need for greater flood protection in this area and awarded the city grant money to enact its plan.
The initial scope of the project was $4.4 million. This amount included a budget of $2.75 million for acquisition, relocation and levee restoration, along with an anticipated cost of $1.65 million to construct the west side lift station. With the project nearing completion, the city anticipates that the final cost will be $4.68 million.
Importantly, this was completed with almost $3.1 million in grant or project funding from the State of Minnesota.
Once grading activities are completed this spring, the levee on the west side of the river will be fortified and the west side lift station will be in full operation pumping water back into the river channel.
This will provide the community, its infrastructure, Highway 12, the 19 businesses from the Dairy Queen to the Legion, and 10 homes with greater flood protection.
Editor’s note: Newspaper staff attempted to contact Leland Shrode for comment and did not receive a call back.