Cottage Grove to Consider Extending State of Emergency

Updated: 06/26/2014 2:03 PM
Created: 06/25/2014 9:36 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

The Cottage Grove City Council is expected to decide Thursday afternoon whether or not to extend the mayor's state of emergency as experts say the Mississippi River will continue to rise Thursday.

The river is about 4 feet above flood stage as of Thursday morning.

Already, the city closed the Grey Cloud Island Trail Bridge Tuesday, putting concrete barriers on top to weigh it down and protect it from fast-moving debris. Now, authorities are concerned about access to the island.

"Emergency services would be compromised if both roads were closed, and they're down one road now," said Cottage Grove Police Chief Craig Woolery.

There are about 15 homes and two dozen people working on the lower island, surrounded by the backwaters of the Mississippi River. Residents have not been evacuated and the Grey Cloud Island Trail Causeway is still open.

"I think we are in pretty good shape, but we are watching," Woolery said.

Perhaps the oldest victim of the flooding was across the river. A lime kiln built in the 1840's crumbled late last week, likely because of heavy rain and high waters.

"Nobody was here to take it down; I mean it stood like an old tree in the woods. And you don't know when it’s going to fall," said Herb Reckinger, Vice President of the South Washington Heritage Society.

The kiln was once used to burn limestone for mortar and cement. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

"Before any of our towns or little townships existed, this limestone kiln was here," Reckinger said.

Reckinger may have been one of the last people inside the kiln in recent history.

"The last load of lime was never removed from there," Reckinger said. "It just kind of makes you feel bad that it's the end of an era."

The full Cottage Grove City Council will vote Thursday afternoon on the state of emergency, it will help with funding and resources.

The backwaters of the Mississippi near Cottage Grove are expected to crest on Friday but are also expected to rise another foot to 18 inches by then.

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