GAYS MILLS, Wisconsin (WXOW)----The 2007 flood came without warning and washed away homes and businesses. Another flood last year brought more headaches and caused more residents to pack up and move.
Now the village is working on a plan to avoid mother nature in order to save and preserve their community for future generations.
Steve Michelson, business owner says, "I've said all along I don't think we can stand another flood. If we have another flood it will probably be the end of our business here because I"m not going to go through it again and it's too costly."
Jordann Ojanpa says, "The Long Range Planning Committee hopes this view of Gays Mills is drastically different a year from now. The committee wants to move Gays Mills to the village's north side where they hope to purchase two fields adding up to about 50 acres where they hope to rebuild their village."
Rich Stevenson, Long-Range Planning Committee Co-Chari says, "We have offers to purchase into both of these folks and we're just waiting for funding to acquire them. Both are open land and there's some water which we are hoping to use as a district heating component in our recovery."
In order to relocate, millions of dollars are needed. The funding will likely come from state, federal and USDA funds. About six million dollars is needed to put the plan into action...and time is running out.
Stevenson says, "If the rain and river cooperates of course we're going to try to get them out before another flood comes through and who knows if or when that will be, but history has shown us it's coming more often and it hasn't been good for the community. So this is a good opportunity to get them out of the water and revitalize the communtiy and give us a future."
That future would involve demolishing existing homes and businesses and rebuilding just north of the village's current boundries...many agree it's a move that would likely save their community.
----Jordann Ojanpa, Reporter