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Saving Stillwater From The Floods

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STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — There’s a 90-percent chance that the St. Croix River will reach major flood stage — and that’s an elevation of 690 feet — 15 feet higher than normal elevation. And forecasters say the St. Croix could rise even higher.

Stillwater is throwing everything its got to hold off the river — concrete barricades, snow and sandbags.

“The city needs about 120,000 sandbags filled,” said Shawn Sanders, director of Public Works.

They’ve seen the waters rise before — back in 2007 and 2001. So they know what can happen. And they want to be prepared for the worst. So they are building a dike that’s about 3,000-feet long. It extends from the south end of town all the way to the north end.

“It’s scary but it’s nothing we haven’t been through before. This community is really resilient — look at all the people who have come down here to help out,” said Julie Johnson.

She’s one of many volunteers who have come to help. The city is trying to get at least 50 people for each shift. Volunteers typically do a three-hour shift.

“I’m back from school this week, so I decided to help volunteer while I’m home,” said one woman.

It’s not easy work — the bags are about 40 pounds each. Volunteers filled the bags about two-thirds full, tie it up and then throw it on a crate. All their hard work is going for a good cause — to safe historical downtown Stillwater.

“I’ve lived here for over 20 years and I love downtown Stillwater and I want to do anything I can to help protect it,” said Johnson.

Sonya Goins, Producer
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