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WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 13, 2012, 05:21 PM

New diversion plan worries residents in Hickson, Oxbow, and Bakke

Hickson, ND (WDAY TV) -- Although the new diversion proposal would reduce some impact, it will still devastate the communities of Hickson, Oxbow, and Bakke. People living there would be "forced" into buyouts, and many are now angered at the thought of losing their homes.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Hickson, ND (WDAY TV) -- Although the new diversion proposal would reduce some impact, it will still devastate the communities of Hickson, Oxbow, and Bakke. People living there would be "forced" into buyouts, and many are now angered at the thought of losing their homes.

Under the new proposal called VE 13 A, the towns of Hickson, Oxbow, and Bakke may still be more than three feet under water during flood season.

Meaning houses like Lillian Johnson's may no longer be here.

"It's just devastating."

Lillian Johnson's white farmhouse has been in her family for nearly 100 years.

Lillian: "My grandchildren, they just, this is all they think about, grandma's place."

Her son wants to grow old here, her husband is buried nearby, and her granddaughter dreams of having her wedding here. But under the new flood diversion proposal, by then her home may no longer be standing.

Lillian: "It'd be very difficult for me to adjust."

Same for her neighbors in Bakke and Oxbow.

Dennis Walaker/Fargo Mayor: "Oxbow still pains me. You know, over 700 homes and maybe 500 have been removed in my period here with the city. That's a big hit."

Darrell Vanyo/Cass County Commission: "When you're protecting 200,000 people, it is going to negatively impact someone."

The new plan would move the diversion a mile and a half north, still affecting those living directly south, but reducing the total cost and number of homes impacted.

Lillian: "It's going affect so many lives. Where are the people going to go?"

Mark Voxland/Moorhead Mayor: "You'd only have 319 residents that would be affected by the diversion, compared to the however many thousands there are in the Fargo Moorhead area. I think that's a great balance."

But leaving long standing residents like Lillian, without a place to call home.

Lillian: "I hope that they can just either drop it or find some other way."

Now the US Army Corps of Engineers and Flood Diversion Authority are holding a public meeting in Moorhead tonight at the Courtyard by Marriott.

They'll have information on the new proposal, and a question and answer session. The event is going on right now and finishes up at 9, we have a crew at the meeting and will tell you what neighbors had to say tonight at 10.

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