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Storm Water Task Force begins study of flood-prone areas of Willmar

WILLMAR -- Members of the Storm Water Task Force have organized and will begin studying possible solutions to recurrent flooding problems caused by heavy rainstorms in parts of the city.

The task force, which was appointed by the Willmar City Council on Dec. 15, met for the first time on Tuesday night. David Schmidt was elected chairman, Joe Ridler was elected vice chairman, and Laura Becker and Vera Novak were elected to share secretarial duties. Eight others were also appointed.

The council has asked the task force to look at flooding problems that occur around the entire city, and present an interim report by the end of April and a final report by the end of June.

"Everyone was pretty much in agreement (that) it is a huge concern about how big the storm water issue has become and the fact that it appears that it is getting much worse than getting better,'' said Becker, whose home has been affected by storm water from a flooded intersection at 10th Street and Kandiyohi Avenue Southwest.

Becker said the task force has asked city officials to provide reports and other information related to storm water, such as zoning ordinances, flood maps and topographical maps.

Becker said a couple task force members said the group may not be able to have a final report ready by the end of the June.

"It's a lot to cram in, in a very short time frame,'' Becker said.

The task force met at the Willmar Fire Station, but will conduct its next meeting -- at 7 p.m. on Feb. 3, and subsequent meetings on the first and third Tuesday of every month -- in Conference Room 1 at the City Office Building.

Also attending the meeting Tuesday were Mel Odens, city public works director; Holly Wilson, assistant city engineer; five City Council members and Mayor Les Heitke.

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