Colfax needs storm shelter, generator, warning siren

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — According to an updated natural hazards mitigation plan for Dunn County from the West Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, the village of Colfax needs a storm shelter, a generator for the municipal building and a new warning siren.

The Colfax Village Board approved the updated version of the plan at the September 9 meeting.

The village board must approve the plan for Colfax to be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding, said Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.

The plan includes a map that identifies areas of concern in the village, including the state Highway 40 and 170 intersection that can be dangerous in the winter because of snow and ice; past problems with flooding along Highway 170 just west of the village limits; flooding in August of 2010 that eroded the bank along the wastewater treatment facility; and flood damage in the Park Drive area.

Other areas of concern identified on the map are the floodplain along Eighteen Mile Creek; the lack of a public storm shelter at the fairgrounds or in the community at all; the mobile home park and a concentration of homes that are slab-on-grade without storm shelters; and stormwater runoff from the hills south of Colfax that can cause flooding in the village.

Under the strategies section, the plan recommends that Colfax continue to monitor, plan for and address flooding issues. Flooding is identified as a high priority issue for Colfax.

The plan also recommends, as a medium to high priority, for Colfax to pursue grant funding to build community storm shelters, especially if the storm shelters could be part of the construction for other facilities.

The plan recommends as well that Colfax work with Dunn County, when grant opportunities arise, to address emergency generator needs for the municipal building and other facilities.

An additional recommendation is that Colfax replace the aging warning siren and install a new siren for full community coverage.

The generator for the municipal building and other public facilities is identified as a medium to high priority.