Recovery continues 1 year after Duluth flooding

9:19 PM, Jun 18, 2013   |    comments
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DULUTH, Minn. - It's been a year since the major flood severely damaged the city and surrounding areas around Duluth. 

Many homeowners have recovered, but many are still struggling.

This entire week, the city of Duluth will commemorate the events a year ago and leaders will meet to discuss what work still needs to be completed.

"Our city was thrown into turmoil and our city is still dealing with the after effects of that turmoil," said Mayor Don Ness. "We've had to put off street maintenance and park maintenance because we're still focused on flood recovery." 

Craig Cullen and his family were evacuated from their lake house near the St. Louis River. Once they left, the only way back right away was by boat.

"Were on the deck here and it was like being out on an island. There was water everywhere," said Cullen.

It's taken him six months to rebuild.

"I'd say we're 90 percent back," he estimated.

About 1,900 homes were severely damaged in the northland flood, about half have been fixed. The rest are in the process of being repaired or in limbo with no clear path forward.

"In some cases the randomness of the damage doesn't fit neatly in the confines of the legislation that was passed," said Ness.
Although Ness said both the state and federal government has been good to work with, it has been slow-going at times.

But there has been progress, for example at Vermilion Road on the city's east end where much of the street has been reopened.

Raging flood waters forced portions of the street to collapse last year.

"All of sudden the street caved in," said neighbor Mike Beery. "It was scary. It came up so fast, you didn't know what was going on."

Mayor Ness believes it's going to be another year before that work is completed, but even then the work will continue.

"In many ways our city has been struggling we're not getting to the normal day to day things" he said.

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