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WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 10, 2011, 09:40 AM

Army Corps builds up permanent levee in Perley, Minnesota

With Georgetown nearly finished, crews from there were moved quickly north to Perley, Minnesota where there is fear that the water could overtop the levee. One after another dump trucks dropped clay on Highway 75 in Perley. On the west side of town, clay was scooped right from the water and placed on top of the permanent levee.

Perley, Minn. (WDAY TV) - As the crest on the Red slides north, the city is hoping to be able to keep County Route 34 to the east open so people can still get in and out of town with Highway 75 closed.

The clay for the dikes in Georgetown came from their ball fields. The hole is now so deep that today, they were moving some top soil around to make it safer. This is a scene that will keep being replayed until permanent flood protection comes.

MAYOR TRACI GOBLE - Georgetown, MN: “Yesterday the Governor was here. It was a promise on a hand shake that I would get 3.5 million for permanent flood protection. Didn't tell me when I would get that money, but they have pictures and on the bottom it says sealed with. Seal the deal at 3.5 million. I will sign it and send it off to him so he doesn't forget his promise.”

With Georgetown nearly finished, crews from there were moved quickly north to Perley, Minnesota where there is fear that the water could overtop the levee.

One after another dump trucks dropped clay on Highway 75 in Perley. On the west side of town, clay was scooped right from the water and placed on top of the permanent levee.

MAYOR ANN MANLEY - Perley, MN: “We were holding off. We didn't think we'd need all of this and then The Army Corps comes in and says you are going to be right at the top of your dike and you have no free board and we've got rain coming.”

South of town the water continues to build. Perley usually sees a crest similar to Fargo, but this year water from the Sheyenne and changes to the Red in Oakport may add to the crest here. All of this equipment is making a mess of city streets.

PAUL REINHART - Perley Resident: “It is mushrooming the roads over there and ours right over here. I'm kinda like I'm gonna send them back when I saw them coming. Road closed I'm going to go put my own signs up.”

With the arrival in town of 17 National Guard members tonight, the population of Perley will swell by 20%. For this small town, that brings its own complications.

“We have the guard here. We don't have the ladies here to feed them, we did then. Our people are getting older and it's a small community.”

As flooding threatens yet again the memory of 2009 is still fresh.

“We lost business. The Cenex will lose; the elevator will lose business and its 2 months in 09 that they lost. That's a lot of money to make up.”

And Mayor Manly know there are more long days ahead.

“It's not over with; it's just starting for us.”

Perley has been allowed to place clay on its permanent levees because this summer, a new, higher levee will be built around the city.

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