Delegation Announces $4.8 Million to Buy Out, Relocate Minnewaukan Homes, School, City Buildings

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven and Kent Conrad and Congressman Rick Berg today announced that North Dakota has been awarded more than $4.8 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding to relocate 18 structures, and buy out an additional 96 other buildings in Minnewaukan.

The purpose of the project is to substantially reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in the city from rising water levels of Devil’s Lake, which has risen by about 30 feet and quadrupled in size since 1993.

The city was awarded $3.8 million to buy out and demolish 57 structures in the city at risk from the rising waters of the lake. Residential, school district and government building structures have been impacted, or will soon be impacted, by the rising elevation of the lake. The increase in lake elevation also poses risks to the integrity of water and sanitary sewer infrastructure. Acquisition and demolition of these 57 structures and the acquisition and relocation of an additional 21 structures in related projects will greatly reduce the effects of flooding for many residents of the community. An additional $1 million will be used to buy out and relocate 18 structures to higher ground.

Minnewaukan Public Schools has acquired a 45-acre tract approximately one mile northwest of the existing town site and proposes to construct a new school on 15 acres of this site through U.S. Department of Education funding as a separate project. The City of Minnewaukan is purchasing the remaining 30 acres from the school for the town relocation, which would accommodate the relocation of the 18 structures scheduled to be moved.

“This FEMA funding will help to secure the community of Minnewaukan for many years to come,” the delegation said.

The delegation worked throughout last year to secure the assistance from FEMA to protect the school and other structures in the community. Senator Conrad has held several Budget Committee field hearings in Devils Lake focused on the need to assist the town of Minnewaukan and its school, and Senator Hoeven also held meetings in Washington and Devils Lake to advance the projects. They met and spoke on numerous occasions with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and other high-level officials to secure this important funding for the city.