STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - A project improving a seawall along the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point is finished. Mayor Andrew Halverson says the extra concrete added to the seawall near the New Page mill in downtown Stevens Point is designed to keep waves from splashing over the wall. “This particular element or extension of the seawall is not designed for structural integrity or designed to actually hold water back. What it’s designed to do is when we are at flood stage and when there is high wave or high wind action, this wall prevents any waves from pouring over the existing seawall. That was really the only reason roughly 202 parcels were still in the 100 year floodplain.”
With the additional height to the wall, Halverson says several homeowners in the central part of the city will save money and gain property value. “We can remove 2002 parcels from the floodplain, saving the average home in that area probably about a thousand dollars a year in flood insurance, which by default will of course increase property values and make it much easier for these folks to sell their real estate.”
The seawall project was coordinated by Consolidated Water Power Company and paid for by the City of Stevens Point. Halverson says the project finished considerably less expensive than predicted, and that’s a good thing for the 202 property owners who will be paying a special assessment. “The project is going to come in probably right around $250,000 to $300,000. Divide that equally by the 202 parcels that are there, or whether we do it by property value or not will remain to be seen proportionally, but ultimately the effect is going to be significantly less than was initially thought.”
Right now, those homeowners pay between $700 and $1,000 per year for flood insurance. The special assessment will break down to less than $1,485 dollars per property, or less than two years worth of flood insurance. The amount per year of the special assessment and if it starts with the 2013 or 2014 property taxes has not yet been determined by city officials.
The project will be reviewed by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. When they sign off on the work, the property owners will no longer be required to have very expensive flood insurance.