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There was some minor flood damage along the Minnesota River in Montevideo and Granite Falls as the river crested over the weekend. The owner of this house near the U.S. Highway 212 bridge in Montevideo uses it as a seasonal getaway for fishing. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

Upper Minn. River crests, flooding does not appear to be major

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MONTEVIDEO -- Dixie and Jerry Tilden moved everything in the basement to the first floor of their house last week as a puddle of clear groundwater seeped in and showed itself on their basement floor.

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The Chippewa River on which they live in Montevideo's Smith Addition ap-pears to have crested over the weekend and was actually starting to recede on Monday, and the puddle in their basement was disappearing too.

"So far, so good,'' said Dixie Tilden, who is hopeful that the worst of this spring's floodwaters have moved on.

That's the hope 18 river miles downstream in Granite Falls as well, where puddles have showed themselves on the basement floor of the City Hall.

"We have a few buildings with their feet in the water,'' said Mayor Dave Smiglewski of Granite Falls, who added that overall the city has not seen any serious flooding problems. As projected, the Minnesota River reached flood stage last week and covered a portion of the alleyway in the downtown area. The waters affected three vacant buildings that are expected to be razed as part of the city's ongoing flood mitigation program.

A new City Hall is currently under construction and will replace the existing building, where floodwaters came within inches of the main floor during the flood of 1997.

Neither Montevideo nor Granite Falls experienced those kind of worries this spring.

"Relieved,'' was the statement of Mayor Jim Curtiss of Montevideo, who said the Minnesota River had crested and was on its way downward on Monday.

Officials in both communities said they are keeping a watchful eye on the river. They remain concerned that melt water from the major snowstorm striking western Minnesota today will keep water levels high.

Both communities have moved many of the homes that were located in the most flood-vulnerable areas of their communities. Not having to worry about the risks to those buildings and their inhabitants eased much of the tension as the waters rose this year, said City Manager Bill Lavin of Granite Falls.

Both communities remain focused on lessening the flood danger for the future. Mayor Curtiss said work is slated to begin this season in Montevideo on upgrading the city's main levee.

Granite Falls is hoping to see flood mitigation funds awarded in St. Paul so that initial work to upgrade the levee can get under way as well.

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