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Kristi Houska, Published October 26 2013

Letter: Oxbow editorial a sham

In response to the Diversion Authority spoon-fed version of The Forum’s editorial “Oxbow ring dike a winner” (Oct. 15):

Bakke Subdivision, Hickson and even many Oxbow residents are paying close attention to what this ring dike truly means. Many questions and concerns have been brought forward to the Diversion Authority by the Bakke/Hickson representatives; we still are awaiting answers.

The Forum referred to Oxbow as a “flood-prone community.” This seems highly inaccurate since the Oxbow Country Club has been advertising its golf course as “flood free,” and the Bakke and Hickson communities have never flooded. What is The Forum’s definition of “flood-prone?”

The Forum states how the “real estate market has staged an impressive comeback” due to the proposed ring dike. Seems to me, the federal lawsuit filed by the Richland/

Wilkin County JPA could very well have been the true reason behind this comeback. Also, The Forum never once provided details if these homes received original full home values upon sale or how many homes are still awaiting sale.

The Forum also stated, “It’s a significant gesture of goodwill … that areas impacted by the flood protection project will be mitigated …” Goodwill? This has nothing to do with goodwill. This is about Fargo and the Diversion Authority trying to mute the noise and the objection coming from the south. It is about them trying to take pressure off their highly flawed plan to remove Fargo lands from the floodplain. It is about them continuing to impose their will on others.

Bakke and Hickson were asked to vote on two different occasions, and both times the residents answered a resounding “no!” How is it goodwill, when the majority of residents do not want the dike; the residents are not guaranteed the full value of their homes; the Diversion Authority is leaving them with unknown maintenance costs, potential internal drainage issues; and residents will only have one emergency exit for close to 200 homes if there ever should be a breach in the dike?

Another statement, “… the sale of homes in Oxbow is a sign that the project will accommodate upstream neighbors.” The only accommodation provided is giving Oxbow a new private golf course, a new private club house with pool, and inclusion of additional land for their future development – all for $65 million of taxpayer money. Why is the Diversion Authority putting the “cart ahead of the horse” when a ring dike is not needed unless the diversion is fully constructed and operational?

I wonder if Fargo taxpayers would have voted differently if they knew tens of millions of their sales tax dollars were going for an unnecessary ring dike and to subsidize a private country club, instead of funding their own much-needed internal flood protection?


Houska lives in the Bakke Subdivision south of Fargo.