Wendy Reuer, Published April 04 2013
Some Oak Creek residents want leveeFARGO – Not all residents want sandbag protection from flooding in the Oak Creek Drive neighborhood here.
The south Fargo neighborhood includes eight city-owned homes, five of which are empty. That has some residents concerned that volunteers will steer clear of signing up to protect the area with a sandbag levee.
About a dozen Oak Creek residents attended Thursday night’s flood meeting at Centennial Elementary School in south Fargo, some of whom asked the city to reconsider demolishing the empty homes and building an earthen levee through the neighborhood.
The city put the earthen levee plan on hold after Monday night’s City Commission meeting. There, resident Gary Cavett said he was speaking for the Oak Creek Drive and Copperfield neighborhoods when he asked commissioners not to tear down the empty homes and instead plan to construct sandbag levee protection. Cavett said the neighborhood was willing to “throw sandbags one more year.”
Oak Creek Drive residents said Thursday the neighborhood does not have a single representative at this time.
City Commissioner Tim Mahoney said the city has examined 13 different flood plans designed to help the neighborhood. Mahoney said Thursday that the commission could still consider the earthen levee, but residents should email or call commissioners to voice their opinion.
“My fear is if we are sandbagging empty houses, we’re going to get zero help,” said Oak Creek resident Tanya Fiebiger.
Mahoney said high school students are lined up to help sandbag areas and the city will be asking neighborhoods not in need of sandbag levees to help.
The city planned to sell the homes and have them moved by the spring flood event, but the March 18 auction was canceled due to a blizzard.
The Oak Creek residents were among roughly 100 people who gathered for the meeting, the last in a series held throughout Cass County this week.
The National Weather Service has said the Red River will likely peak after April 15 with temperatures expected to remain 10 to 15 degrees colder than average.
In March, the weather service said the Red River has a 50-50 chance of reaching 38.1 feet in Fargo and a 10 percent chance of a record-setting 40.9 feet. A flood of 38.1 feet would be the fifth-largest flood on record. The record crest of 40.84 feet was set on March 28, 2009. The latest flood forecast assumes normal precipitation of 0.25 to 0.40 inch throughout April.
City Engineer April Walker said officials are anxiously awaiting the deterministic flood forecast, which uses actual river levels.
“We don’t have deterministic flood yet, so we don’t necessarily know how high it is going to go. Everybody has different theories on that,” Mahoney said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530