Downtown Afton’s historic buildings, quaint shops, and homes will be a little safer from flooding, and less likely to let sewage into the St. Croix, if a planned project goes ahead (see previous St. Croix 360 post).
The Star Tribune reports:
It’s a startling sight for anyone living near a lake or river: murky, brown stormwater spilling over aging levees and flooding roads, homes and businesses.
With that scenario in mind, Afton has embarked on a $10.5 million flood control project to upgrade levees, reroute some sewage pipes and modernize the city’s crumbling roads. All in the name of protecting its historic downtown, made up of a handful of artsy shops and restaurants, from being inundated by the St. Croix River.
Ronald Moorse, the city’s administrator, said the Old Village is considered in a 100-year flood zone, a designation that carries stricter building codes and a requirement that property owners buy flood insurance. The flood plain is roughly bordered by City Hall to the north, St. Croix Trail to the west and River Road to the south.
Moorse said engineers will strengthen and raise the existing earthen levee, built in the 1960s, about 3 feet to meet federal standards. He said he hoped the upgrade would be done in 2016, coinciding with the completion of a Washington County-financed $6.5 million overhaul of St. Croix Trail S., also called County Road 21, the main thoroughfare through the downtown area.
In addition to protecting the downtown from flooding, the project would benefit the river. The city will remove nine septic tanks in the levee which can spill their contents into the water during flooding.