Moving a Town: The Story of Gays Mills


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Moving a Town: The Story of Gays Mills - Roxanne Gray & Lynsey Kawski, WEM

Nov 2010

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Moving a Town: The Story of Gays Mills

  1. 1. Moving a Town:The Story of Gays Mills Roxanne Gray, State Hazard Mitigation Officer Lynsey Kawski, Disaster Response and Recovery Planner
  2. 2. Community Profile Population: 625 (2000) Low income, high unemployment Elderly population “Driftless Area” Kickapoo watershed characterized by high ridges and deep valleys with steep slopes
  3. 3. Past Mitigation Efforts 1935: Congressional assistance sought by residents to alleviate flood damage. 1938: USACE begins preliminary studies of flood reduction measures. 1940: Congress authorizes USACE to conduct surveys to determine flood reduction feasibility. 1962: Congress authorizes Kickapoo River Valley Flood Control Project (i.e., known as the LaFarge Dam.) 1975: Flood control project halted due to environmental issues. 1976: URS Corporation completes USACE funded study entitled “Alternatives for Flood Reduction and Recreation in the Kickapoo River Valley.”
  4. 4. 1978 Major flood disaster hits Kickapoo Valley causing $10.5M in damage. Established Flood Avoidance Committee to obtain community views on various projects. Flood Reduction Study prepared by consultant. Alternatives included levee, combination of floodproofing and relocation, partial relocation, total relocation, and do nothing. No actions were implemented. Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin chose to move.
  5. 5. 2007  August 2007 received 12” of rain; a record-breaking flood.  Village began working with WEM on acquisition and elevation projects.  Village created Flood Recovery Committee.  Just prior to the flood the Village completed a $1.2 million sewer improvement project.
  6. 6. 2008  Record-breaking snow fall in winter 2007-08.  Less than 10 months after ’07 flood event.  Kickapoo River rose to 20.44 feet above BFE.  Both 2007 and 2008 events greater than a 500 year flood.
  7. 7. Past Successes  2003 relocated the Crawford County Highway Shop in downtown Gays Mills.  2007 and 2008 floods showed a return on mitigation investment of 592%.  Total Losses Avoided: $3.9M.
  8. 8. 1719 (2007) HMGP Initial application  Acquisition/demolition of 10 substantially damaged properties (9 residential, 1 commercial.)  Elevation of 18 structures (17 substantially damaged) After second flood revised  Acquisition/demolition of 20 properties  Elevation of 5 structures Historic school eventually withdrawn Total funds $1,429,866
  9. 9. 1768 (2008) Pre ESF-14 Mitigation already in process after the ’07 Floods, a Flood Recovery Committee established. Community lacked strong leadership from Village Board. At the JFO, WEM staff discussed involving WAPA/APA to assist the village in flood recovery planning.
  10. 10. 1768 (2008) ESF-14 Long Term Community Planning Process Kickoff Meeting (8/20)  Design Charrette (9/19) Planning Charrettes  Presentation to Board (8/20-21) (10/6) Community Meeting  Presentation of Draft (9/18) Plan (10/20)
  11. 11. Alternatives No Action – rejected Levee – not feasible for financial, risk and technical reasons Partial relocation Total relocation Split between partial and total relocation
  12. 12. Projects  Economic and Flood Recovery Coordinator  Site development  Maximize on HMGP funding and match  Low-cost improvements to existing downtown  Business incubator
  13. 13. 1768 (2008) Post ESF-14 Community believed that the ESF-14 concept plan was what they would get—for free. Community didn’t want to invest money into the relocation. WEM coordinated the initial multi-agency response.
  14. 14. 1768 (2008) HMGP Acquisition/demolition 12 more substantially damaged structures Elevation of 1 $1,098,006 Includes the EMS building
  15. 15. HMGP Status Elevation of 5 structures completed 33 offers-to-purchase accepted 29 closings to date 23 demolitions completed $2,527,872
  16. 16. Successes Providing direction to a tiny community with no professional local government. Supplemental funds from other agencies. ESF 14 team’s specialties: historic and cultural, environmental, communications, economic development, public facilities, urban planning, landscape architect, and grants. Partnership and collaboration with other agencies developed from the 1993 floods.
  17. 17. Challenges Lack of communication, local leadership, and local capability (small, rural community) Community expectations (not going to change). Not a “Soldiers Grove” Outsiders very vocal against relocation. Afraid of losing “downtown” Community believing in total and complete consensus.
  18. 18. Additional Challenges  Local media coverage.  Funding for a flood recovery coordinator.  The plan itself
  19. 19. Current Situation 2 relocation sites purchased  Site A – Chestelson now known as North Mills  Site C – Dudgeon Mixed use Multiple agency collaboration and funding streams Economic and Recovery Coordinator (SSBG) Sustainability
  20. 20. North Mills Residential homes and townhouses Mercantile Center owned by the village Community Commerce Center  Library  Village offices  Community Kitchen
  21. 21. Status – North Mills 34 sites available for residential housing 2 - 5 unit townhouses completed; may build 2 more 1 home completed; 3 more by end of 2010 6 more planned for 2011
  22. 22. Site C - Dudgeon Small health clinic Assisted living facility EMS and Fire Department Public Works Additional business development
  23. 23. Funding Estimate $18 million FEMA/WEM (HMGP)  Acquisition/demolition of substantially damaged properties  Elevations EDA  Infrastructure business portion  Portion of village owned mercantile center  Portion of Community Commerce Center  Geothermal and solar systems  3 years salary for central business district manager
  24. 24.  Rural Development  Grants and loans  Portion of infrastructure  Portion of funding for Community Commerce Center and proposed public works pending  Funding programs for homeowners State DOC – CDBG  Planning grant to hire consultant  Match to HMGP and home rehab  Acquisition costs for relocation sites  Portion of infrastructure  Portion of Community Commerce Center  Funds pending for acquisition of additional floodplain properties and construction of single family housing
  25. 25.  Coulee CAP financing and sponsorship of townhouses and other housing DOT highway improvements State Dept. of Health Services – SSBG (expired 9/30/10.) TIF Private investments  Land purchased for new marketplace to house grocery store, gas station, bank, and car wash
  26. 26. Lessons Learned ESF-14 activate sooner and stay longer New “normal” Recognizing past efforts of state and locals Communications Supplemental funding (future expectations)
  27. 27. Roxanne Gray State Hazard Mitigation Officer 608-242-3211 Lynsey KawskiDisaster Response and Recovery Planner 608-242-3222