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Dam restoration continues, federal dollars received

By Anna Jauhola
Officials are working to restore the Hallock dam area to post-construction, pre-flooding condition — but the work is not over.
Trent Berg of Houston Engineering updated the Hallock City Council on the progress during its regular meeting on Monday, July 10. He presented a copy of updated plans to continue fixing the dam area, which did not perform the way it was intended.
The city will receive funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in three installments. The first pot of money paid for emergency repair work. Weleske Improvements and Taggert Construction worked to remove the temporary levee that held back water earlier this year.
“That happened just a couple weeks ago,” Berg said. “(FEMA) wouldn’t move forward with any other funding until that came out. That was their stipulation, that it had to be out by July 12.”
Berg noted he and City Clerk/Administrator Aimee Sugden have been working together to obtain the federal funding.
FEMA has earmarked $153,000 for the second pot of money, which will allow the city to restore the area to the way it was before flooding in the spring of 2022 heavily damaged the area.
“But we don’t want to do that, because we don’t want it to wash out again and have the same problems we had,” Berg said.
So, the third chunk of undetermined funding the city will receive from FEMA is designated for mitigation. Berg explained Houston Engineering’s mitigation plan is to move the golf cart path closer to the asphalt road leading to the spillway, and widen the spillway under the bridge.
Moving the golf cart path further east will allow for filling the area closest to the river with rip rap and grade it toward the top of the emergency spillway.
“The DNR won’t let you just raise that up,” Berg said. “Because then you have higher water further upstream. They want it to be the same elevation when you’re done with the project.”
In conjunction with that, the project calls for widening the channel under the bridge between the concrete abutments. Berg said the idea is to increase the flow while water is backed up during flooding and not raise the level upstream.
He also noted the project will include more riprap along the north side of the emergency spillway where it washed out and they already filled in the hole in the concrete in the spillway.
“Well, you’re going to replace all the wrecked concrete in the spillway,” said Mayor Dave Treumer.
Berg said replacing the concrete that washed out is quite spendy, but filling it with rip rap would allow it to function the same.
“The last of it here is at the bottom of the curve, between the rock arch rapids, it was supposed to be tow wood. They cut down trees and were supposed to shove them in the bank,” Berg said.
“They didn’t,” Treumer said. “I watched them. They didn’t.”
“So that has washed away and we’d put in some riprap and repair that outside corner,” Berg said.
He added that MnDNR still has $34,000 for this project, which only covers work within the stream and could take care of the rip rap on the curve.
Currently, Houston has submitted permitting to the DNR and FEMA is reviewing the project. He doesn’t believe permitting will be difficult, but it may take awhile as DNR is working on the Lake Bronson Dam project. He said they’d like to get the project done before freeze-up, so they are pushing FEMA to get the final leg of funding.
In other business, the council:
• Heard from Sugden that she’s working with the city attorney regarding an easement for proposed city utility lines to be laid for the Elementary Hill Addition being developed by Bakken Construction. There are current lines available, but Bakken Construction is proposing new main water, gas and sewer lines to which they can run private homeowner lines.
• Appointed Councilors Jen Peterson and Kevin Waller to the 2024 budget committee.
• Approved the resignation of firefighter Jeff Englund.
• Approved Robby Funaiole as a new firefighter in the department.
• Approved a resolution designating authorized representatives at United Valley Bank.
• Approved a resolution accepting a $5,000 donation toward Horseshoe Park Gazebo and $3,000 toward the Hallock Pool.
• Tabled a building permit until the August meeting so the council can confirm setbacks at the property.
• Heard from Airport Manager Jeremy Seng the council needs to gather a request for proposals for a new airport engineer.
The next meeting is set for Monday, Aug. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

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