Less than $1 million dollars.
Yup, that is all the money that the City of Granite Falls will need to come by to fully complete its decade long running flood mitigation plan, having received notification Friday that $1.512 million in federal EDA Disaster Relief Funds would be made available to replace and relocate the city’s existing lift station at the south end of Minnesota Avenue in east Granite Falls.
“The first thing that comes to mind thinking of the project is that it lacks the glamour of some of the projects like the business relocations and the city water plant,” said City Manager Bill Lavin. “But, really, I think of all the projects, this should have the greatest impact on health and safety for the community.”
Lavin said that the health and safety component comes into play given that the majority of the sewage produced by the city will flow through the lift station as it is pumped uphill from Minnesota Avenue to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
At present, the several decades old lift station is located within the flood plain and is believed to have significant infiltration and inflow (I&I) issues. The I&I problems allow ground and floodwaters to enter and overload the system, creating both sewage back-ups into homes as well as forced bypasses of excess inflow and untreated sewage at the wastewater treatment plant.
The new lift station will be placed on higher ground, out of the flood plain and closer to Washington Street. Although the federal EDA grant is for $1.512 million of the project, the total project cost is expected to run $1.89 million. That additional $378,000 will be funded with Minnesota DNR flood mitigation funds, meaning that the entirety of expense appropriated to the city will be a big fat: nothing. In fact, the sum total of the roughly $22 million that has been appropriated for flood mitigation projects in Granite Falls will involve a direct contribution from the city of less than $600,000, or a little under three percent of the total project cost.
The Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) in Appleton alerted the city about the possibility of the federal grant last year and assisted the city in making the application. The UMVRDC has been under contract with the city for flood-related grant administration services for a number of years.
Asked if there was any way the city could have obtained a better deal, Lavin simply stated that it would have been “impossible.”
“It would have been impossible to have received a better deal,” he said. “Had we gone through other programs there would have been so much red tape and so many studies that we would not even be close to where we are now in terms of completion––and it most assuredly would have come at a much more substantial cost to local taxpayers.”
Page 2 of 2 - With the flood proofing of Wing Bain Funeral Home recently completed, the city is working on finishing up the acquisition of a portion of the Granite Floral and Green House property along Hwy. 212 near the overflow channel and also the residence of Steve and Jodi Steffen, south of Hwy. 212, just east of the river.
Lastly, a secondary pumping station near the overflow channel behind the Wellness Center south of Hwy. 212 will be installed to de-water an upstream area north of Hwy. 212 near the corner of 7th St. and 12th Ave., which has been the location of several interior flooding events. That will relieve the city from having to place piping across the highway, as was done in 2001, in order to de-water the interior flood area during high water periods.
All of the projects are expected to be completed by early to mid 2014.