WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 04, 2012, 09:36 PM

A new ring dike could save the communities of Oxbow, Hickson, and Bakke

Owbow, ND (WDAY TV) -- It calls for a tall ring dike around Oxbow, Hickson, and Bakke.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Owbow, ND (WDAY TV) -- It calls for a tall ring dike around Oxbow, Hickson, and Bakke.

Just a month after telling people living in Oxbow, Hickson, and Bakke there is no hope for the places they call home, diversion officials say they have found a solution.

Darrell Vanyo/Diversion Authority Chairman: "It would save everything that's there today."

A 10 to 17 foot high ring dike, that would enclose these three communities.

A small plan and a larger one that would also save the golf course.

Mike Bice/Knickerbocker Liquor Locker Owner: "We've been told from day one that they can't have higher than a three foot ring dike, then all of a sudden a 10 to 17 foot one is possible. It seems they change the rules as they go."

Business owners and residents are left wondering why now? Some believe its just talk to get away from a lawsuit filed by diversion opponents. But Vanyo says they've been trying to come up with an answer the whole time.

Vanyo: "We were always looking for ways that we might be able to save the communities of Oxbow, Bakke and Hickson."

Bice: "Is this a PR move or are they sincerely going to do something?"

A breakthrough came when the Army Corps of Engineers changed its stance on ring dikes.

Vanyo: "It's taken engineers locally to not give up."

If the dike is built, only 30 homes would need buyouts or could be moved inside of the ring, instead of the 180 home buyouts without it.

Bice: "As I always have been, I don't want to push water onto other people and if they ring dike this area they're going to push additional water onto other residents of Pleasant Township, Richland and Wilkin County."

But Vanyo says they dike will only go up with approval from the public.

Vanyo: "If they decided that they want this then that's what we would do."

Bice: "Most of us still believe that the actual diversion could be moved farther north without a damming component and that's probably the best answer."

A lengthy battle between sides, that still has no end in sight.

Oxbow's Mayor says he's waiting for more information to comment. The Diversion Authority will hold a meeting to discuss the ring dike on October 11th.