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Fargo flood plain map delayed

Fargo won't see a new flood plain map for the city's south side for at least six more months, giving residents and businesses in that area a little reprieve from the day they must to buy federal flood insurance.

Fargo won't see a new flood plain map for the city's south side for at least six more months, giving residents and businesses in that area a little reprieve from the day they must to buy federal flood insurance.

Meanwhile, city officials said Tuesday they will continue planning on the $147 million Southside Flood Control Project.

The project is designed to protect the city from flooding by Red and Wild Rice rivers and remove land from the 100-year flood plain

Barb Fitzpatrick, National Flood Insurance Program manager for North Dakota, said the new Flood Insurance Rate Map, which shows what properties are in the 100-year flood plain, won't be ready until late spring or summer.

"I can't give an exact date," Fitzpatrick said. "It's just a very large project to be reviewed and it's taking longer than expected."

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Fitzpatrick said it usually takes one year from the FIRM's release before it is finalized, pushing its enforcement date into mid-2010.

After the FIRM is finalized, any home or business with a mortgage in the 100-year flood plain must buy high-risk flood insurance.

Fargo Senior Engineer April Walker, said the news is a nice break for homeowners.

"We're still going to pursue the same schedule," Walker said. "It gives homeowners a little bit of a reprieve" because there will be a shorter window for them to pay flood insurance.

Walker estimated 2,675 structures will need high-risk flood insurance in Fargo and its extraterritorial area.

The Southside Flood Con-trol Project once finished and approved by FEMA will re-move the large bulk of those structures from the flood plain, Walker said.

"We know what it's going to be. There's no reason to not move forward," Mayor Dennis Walaker said.

The city has to find funding for the project beyond the special assessments the Southeast Cass Water Re-source District must levy to help pay for it, he said.

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Walaker said the federal government has committed $11 million. The remainder of the cost must be split between the state and Fargo and other properties that will benefit.

He said Grand Forks and Wahpeton received generous state help to build flood pro-tection. He hopes state law-makers see fit to make Fargo safe, too.

Walaker said a half-cent sales tax is being considered as an option to raise the local cost share money.

Measures on the November ballot to slash state income taxes and to sequester much of its oil trust fund money could cripple the Legislature's ability to help with a flood project, Walaker said. The rocky national economy could also affect funding, he said.

"We don't get the money, there's no project," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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