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Published June 19, 2009, 12:20 PM

UPDATE: Red River now expected to hit 28 feet in metro area, affecting parks and bridges

UPDATED 12:14 p.m.
FARGO - Runoff from heavy rains this week in the southern Red River Valley is projected to push the river in Fargo-Moorhead to 2 feet below major flood stage.

By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

UPDATED 12:14 p.m.

FARGO - Runoff from heavy rains this week in the southern Red River Valley is projected to push the river in Fargo-Moorhead to 2 feet below major flood stage.

The river is forecast to peak at 28 feet late Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Moderate flood stage is 25 feet.

Prior to Thursday’s rain-fall, the river was forecast to peak at about 23 feet.

The higher peak will “dramatically” change plans for the Fargo Park District, said Executive Director Roger Gress.

Diking may be needed to protect the “bowl” area of Edgewood Golf Course. The district had hoped to open flood-damaged Edgewood by July 4, but that may be delayed now, Gress said.

Gress remains hopeful that all 18 holes at Rose Creek Golf Course will be open in time for the Roger Maris Celebrity Golf Tournament on June 28-29.

At a river level of 28 feet, the lower campgrounds at Lindenwood Park, which were reseeded after spring flooding, will be underneath 6 to 7 feet of water, he said.

Pedestrian bridges at Lindenwood and Oak Grove parks also will be submerged, as will the Dike East area and the Frisbee golf course at Oak Grove Park, which was just reseeded last week, Gress said. Mickelson Field is protected to a river level of 30 feet, he said.

A 28-foot crest also will affect Moorhead parks.

“It’ll be a nuisance flood, but it’ll still make a big mess,” Operations Director Chad Martin said.

Moorhead usually opens a gate to allow Woodlawn Park – which also has a Frisbee golf course – to flood when the river hits 26.5 feet to prevent water from going over the dike road. But Martin is hopeful that won’t be necessary.

“At 28 feet, we’re still under the road by 2 feet, and we will monitor very closely and if it appears to stay there, no rain and pass, life’s good,” he said.

The river may reach the large shelter in Gooseberry Park, Martin said.

The Third Street underpass in downtown Moorhead has been closed, but the First Avenue North underpass should remain open, he said.

At 28 feet, the toll bridge between Fargo’s 12th Avenue North and Moorhead’s 15th Avenue North closes.

The city of Fargo normally starts erecting a clay dike on Second Street North to protect City Hall when the river is forecast to hit 30 feet. City Engineer Mark Bittner said Friday there were no plans to build the dike, but the city is watching out for more rain to the south.

“God, I hope we don’t have to do that,” he said.

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