WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 03, 2010, 03:38 PM

Oakport homeowner upset with plan to raise road next to his house

Oakport Township, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Would you be willing to give up your front yard to help protect your neighbors from spring flooding? That is the situation in Oakport Township where crews are racing to wrap up work this fall on an ongoing dike project there. But some Oakport residents who live on Broadway are upset about a plan to raise and widen that busy road, a plan that would also take out some front yards.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

“You see this picture; it is right up to the deck.”

Steve Nelson never gave much though to what his front yard might be worth until he got a letter from an attorney saying he would get $1,600 for this chunk of turf now that Oakport township plans to widen and raise Broadway which runs by his house.

STEVE NELSONOAKPORT RESIDENT: “And I told him 1,600 bucks buys two of these trees.”

About a half dozen homes along this strip have been asked to sacrifice some of their front yards for the road raising which is part of Oakport's flood protection plan. It is going to destroy most of the front yards of most of these homes. Most have agreed to do it, not Nelson.

“These cars come by here like these cars right now, cars come home from happy hour and if they lose control and those trees keep that car from ending up in my living room.”

While Nelson understands the need for flood protection, he doesn't know why the township doesn't use the west side of the road for this since they own the property anyway.

GREG ANDERSONOAKPORT TOWNSHIP OFFICIAL: “We looked at that, but soil stabilization, if we put it on the west side it will slide into the river and why do something that will fail?”

For Nelson, this could end up in court. He wants to keep his yard, but he could find himself in condemnation proceedings.

“So far, we have done this without condemnation. Everyone has been satisfied. We can get there if people are willing to sit down and visit with us.”

Oakport is spending about 20-million dollars to protect the area north of Moorhead from flood damage.