Local Leaders Discuss Diversion Progress, Additional Federal Funding

Senator John Hoeven and Major General Scott Spellmon were briefed on the current status of the project

FARGO, N.D. —¬†As the Deputy Commanding Officer for Civil and Emergency Operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Major General Scott Spellmon is used to dealing with natural disasters.

But as he goes around the country to help out others, he looks to one day stop a catastrophe before it even happens.

“He’s going from here to Florida. Now think about that. That’s what we have to be aware of. This is permanent flood protection so we’re not in a situation where he and a lot of the others have to come help us because we’ve had a terrible flood,” said Senator John Hoeven (R-ND).

Recently, the Army Corps of Engineers received nearly $2 billion in federal funds to support construction projects around the country.

While not pinning a specific amount for the FM Diversion Project, Major General Spellmon says the collaborative effort is deserving of federal support.

“These projects are hard. They’re all difficult and very, very complicated, but what also is special here is you have a very strong relationship with our local partners, certainly with our national leaders and the corps district out here working to make things happen. That’s something very special as well,” Major General Spellmon said.

Major General Spellmon says the public to private partnership, a collaboration of public and private sector interests to help fund the project, could cut down construction time from 18 years to six and a half years.

“This is something new. We’re breaking new ground for the Corps, and it’s really about how can we deliver projects more quickly, how can we complete construction more quickly, and this is just an opportunity for us to look at another avenue where this team is actually doing it,” said Major General Spellmon.

With the federal government in their corner, local leaders are optimistic about the project’s development if it gets approved by the DNR.

“We need to have flood protection in this area. We don’t want to have a disaster happen in our community, so this is another step forward. We’ll keep marching forward and enjoy the partnership that we have,” said Mayor Tim Mahoney of Fargo.

Members of the FM Metro Flood Diversion Authority say they anticipate a response from the Minnesota DNR about their permit application at some point this winter.

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