STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - About 200 Stevens Point homeowners will benefit from a project to prevent major flooding. Mayor Andrew Halverson says they just received approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to proceed with a joint project to improve the seawall near the New Page downtown mill.
The project will be handled by Consolidated Water Power Company, which owns the hydroelectric dam next to the paper mill. Halverson says they will raise the height of the seawall about 18 inches to prevent wind and wave action over the wall in a major flood, such as the city experienced two years ago.
Right now, about 200 homeowners south of the downtown business district, and just south of the City-County Building are required to pay hundreds or even over a thousand dollars a year for flood insurance. Halverson says making this change will end that insurance requirement. “If we can save our residents money, we can help property values, and we can really take away any hurdle for folks wanting to live in beautiful historic homes in our city’s center, this is a project that best is able to harness all of those priorities.”
The Mayor says Consolidated Water Power Company did not have to take on this project, but chose to knowing that many residents would benefit from the seawall improvements.
Halverson says it will cost about three hundred thousand dollars to complete. “The city is paying exclusively for this, however, it is not a city construction project. It is a Consolidated Water Power Company construction project, as it must be based on their regulations. They have to do the work. We pay for all of the work and engineering associated with it.”
The cost of the project will affect the 200 or so property owners in the 100-year floodplain with a ten year special assessment. Halverson expects that assessment to be under $200 dollars a year, which is considerably cheaper than flood insurance. Flood insurance costs range from $700 to in excess of $1,500 per year depending on the property value.
Construction begins early next month. The seawall construction project will last all winter and wrap up next spring.