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Dave Olson, Published October 23 2012

Diversion Authority asks corps to analyze ring dike option

FARGO – The Flood Diversion Authority voted Tuesday to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work with residents of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke to analyze whether a ring dike should be built to protect the communities from the effects of a diversion project.

Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof told the authority Oxbow was willing to explore the idea of a ring dike, but he said one condition the community would insist upon is that Oxbow’s golf course be included and any holes that need to be moved be done so with input from the course’s designer, Robert Trent Jones.

Nyhof said that if a ring dike is built, it would still necessitate buying out or relocating some Oxbow residents.

“We’re expecting probably 40 homes to be bought out, relocated, some opportunity given to those residents to stay in Oxbow. Or, if they choose to reside someplace else, that is certainly their choice,” Nyhof said.

Oxbow has about 104 homes.

Authority member and Fargo City Commissioner Tim Mahoney said he anticipates the golf course issue won’t be a problem. He said Fargo has dealt with similar issues involving a golf course and flood mitigation, and everything worked out.

A corps official said Tuesday residents of Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke would be invited to work with a corps planning team on exploring the ring dike option.

No one from Hickson or Bakke spoke at Tuesday’s special meeting of the diversion authority, but Nyhof indicated those communities have said they are not interested in pursuing a ring dike.

Mahoney said people may feel differently when they are faced with making a decision between a ring dike or a buyout.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘I’m going to leave,’ but once you actually get to that hard decision, it’s really tough,” Mahoney said.

“I think people have to think about what they’re going to do,” he added.

The corps said if a ring dike is to be included in the diversion plans, a decision would likely have to be made by sometime in December.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555