Councilors discuss Albert Lea flooding

Published 11:16 pm Monday, September 26, 2016

Albert Lea city councilors discussed severe flooding the city has faced in the last week Monday.

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker said he spent 2 1/2 hours Friday in his ward speaking with residents about the flooding, which was sparked by torrential rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

“I just hope that everyone is doing well,” he said.

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Baker advised anyone who needs help with cleaning up from flooding to give him a call.

City officials said water levels decreased 6 to 12 inches where all levels were measured Monday  on Fountain Lake. Albert Lea Lake water levels decreased 6 inches at the dam, but remain unchanged at Frank Hall Park, a press release stated. Water levels have reportedly decreased about 1 inch along East Main Street.

“The only roads that remain closed are East Main Street, Lincoln Avenue north of West Ninth Street and the Pearl Street and Elizabeth Street intersection,” the release stated.

All bypass pumps had been shut off Monday morning, but still had two pumps running on full.

“The city expects this to continue until the water levels on Albert Lea Lake decrease,” the release stated.

Anyone with property damage related to flooding is advised to call 1-800-543-7709 and provide your name, address, phone number, number of occupants in the home, what was damaged and the approximate value of the damage.

Assessment teams began to inspect residential property for storm-related damage Monday. The teams will continue inspect properties where damage has been verbally confirmed.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. said the flooding he has seen in the community has abnormal.

“It has a lot to do with the fact that we have had a lot of rain prior, and the ground was saturated, and as a result there was nowhere for the rain to go,” he said.

First Ward Councilor John Schulte V said though flooding has enveloped the city since Thursday, he has not seen extensive flooding in his district, which encompasses the northwest side of Albert Lea.

“I haven’t seen it as high as it’s been,” he said.“Fortunately we don’t get 5 inches of rain in eight hours too often. That is the problem. Anytime you get that concentration of rain, there is not much you can do about it.”

In other action, the council:

  • Authorized a facilities agreement between the city of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Area Schools to authorize Rasmussen and Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams to enter into an agreement with the district for use of City Arena and Hayek Field from October to June 2021.
  • Declared Albert Lea Autumn Blaze as a community festival within Albert Lea.
  • Declared Fall Hometown Pride Cleanup Day as being from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 22 at Albert Lea Transfer Station and Demolition Landfill,
  • Supported a grant application to the James Metzen Mighty Ducks grant program for renovations to the ventilation and air conditioning system at City Arena. The city will need a matching contribution of $72,000.
  • Approved a lot split for properties at 1813 and 1815 Hale Drive.
  • Awarded 50 percent in matching funds up to $2,500 for facade improvements, such as paint, a canvass awning and signage to identify tenants leasing space at VItality Center, 314 Broadway Ave.

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About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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