Milton homeowners search for flooding solutions

Published: May. 26, 2020 at 9:18 PM CDT
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For more than a year, Milton homeowners have been fighting rising lake levels and flooded yards, garages and basements. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers has stepped in.

Bob Schrank is one of those homeowners. His yard has been mostly underwater for more than a year.

"The garage has been in the water and it's gotten worse since then," he said, adding that before the flooding, "We were able to have a sandy beach down there and a volleyball pit."

Water levels in Clear Lake have been steadily rising since early 2019, covering Schrank's yard, part of his garage and what used to be a driveway.

Schrank's neighbors are facing similar problems. Renee Kojo and her husband have to run pumps constantly just to keep water from Grass Lake out of their garage.

"I think at one time, maybe he had six pumps going. I think right now, he has three or four going," Kojo explained.

Residents said the flooding has also impacted local roads and campgrounds. On Tuesday, State Representative Don Vruwink (D-Milton) joined members of the Army Corps of Engineers to canvass the people and places hit the hardest by the high water.

"We're going to try to get the Army of Corps of Engineers, who has programs to help deal with people who are here in these wetlands, so I wanted to say what they were able to offer the people of the town of Milton here," Vruwink said.

Bringing in the Army Corps of Engineers offers some hope to homeowners like Schrank.

"There's been a couple times where we've almost said you know what, we can't do it anymore, we're going to have to give up," Schrank explained, adding, "Maybe a glimmer, a thread of hope that maybe the army corps of engineers could give some insights into something that could be done."

Schrank and Kojo hope this is the first step toward a solution.

"I'm the fourth generation to live on this property and we just want to keep it," Schrank said.

Once the Army Corps finishes its assessment, Vruwink told NBC15 he plans to bring the findings personally to homeowners. He does not yet know when the assessments will be done.