Crews commit to minimizing flood damage in Red WingWhile the Red Wing Arts Association was busy indoors preparing to move up the hill to a temporary refuge, Joe Goggin was circling the Milwaukee Road Depot, trying to figure out how to keep the historic building safe and dry.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
While the Red Wing Arts Association was busy indoors preparing to move up the hill to a temporary refuge, Joe Goggin was circling the Milwaukee Road Depot, trying to figure out how to keep the historic building safe and dry.
Goggin is property manager for the depot, 418 Levee St., which is owned by the Red Wing Property Conservation Fund of the St. Paul Foundation.
"We just want to make sure we protect (the building) as best we can" and minimize potential losses, Goggin said. "It's no fun."
The owners did obtain flood insurance this spring, he said, but it will not go into effect until 12:01 a.m. Thursday. He's hoping the midweek snowstorm and cold weather will slow the river's rise until after then.
Historically, all of Red Wing's worst floods have come in April. The four highest crests in 1965, 1969, 2001 and 1997; plus crests between 16 and 17 feet in the 1950s. Floods under 16 feet occurred in April of 1967 and '86; May of 1975; and June of 1993.
On Wednesday, Goggin was on site showing Wade Mallan, a crew leader for a Sentence to Service crew, where to place sandbags around the depot foundation, window wells and entrances.
Randy Gunderson and Corey Flynn from Sylvander Heating pulled up to the north side of the building and loaded the depot's air-conditioning unit into the back of a truck.
"Hope it doesn't get warm," Gunderson quipped.
Several truckloads were hauled from a sandbag filling operation in the YMCA parking lot to the depot. On Thursday, STS crews stacked about 1,200 bags up to 5 feet high to hold back the water - leaving open the entrance for Amtrak passengers, for now.
Inside the historic lobby, Goggin was optimistic.
"I think we can keep the water out of this floor," he told helper Paul Kluesher, pointing out items to be protected.
Still, the wooden benches and display cases will either be wrapped in plastic or raised on blocks two feet above ground - possibly both.
Officials anticipate some flooding in the basement, unless the flood crest is downgraded substantially. Goggin said the drains will be plugged to prevent infiltration.
Depending on how high the water comes, he's also considering have a few feet of clean water pumped into the basement to equalize pressure.