ROCK SPRINGS — Rock Springs' first flood recovery sub-committee meeting focused on ideas in drafting a recovery plan. While no action was taken, it’s one of many steps for the village’s path towards recovery in the aftermath of the 2018 floods.
At the committee’s first meeting January 10, Chairman Jamie Busser said 21 properties inside and outside of the village limits are listed for potential relocation of the downtown. Busser said he is looking to get in touch with the rest of them to request if their property could be used for possible locations if the village decides to relocate its downtown.
Busser has only approached a portion of the landowners. At the meeting he said he received only one “heck no” from one land owner while the rest he’s approached are on board. The size of each lot ranges from a third of an acre to 78 acres.
Other components will have to be looked at in the final decision making process in where to locate the new downtown like access to utilities, roads, sewer and water. Costs associated with purchasing land and if any grants are available to help with costs will also have to be looked at. Elevating certain properties is another aspect the village is also looking at.
After the 2018 floods, four businesses, three houses, the community center and an apartment building sustained substantial damage from the late summer floods and are eligible for buyouts. With the community center over the threshold and its location in a flood way, Busser said there really wasn’t any chance the building could be saved. He said the village is looking at two locations to move the community center: uphill between its current location at 200 Broadway Street and St. John’s Lutheran Church or move it towards higher ground by the fire station.
FEMA representatives John Boyle, Kehla West and Ada Prieto were present at the meeting to offer advice for the committee how to make a flood recovery plan and the types of assistance the agency can offer. MSA Community Development Specialists Jeff Thelen was also present at the meeting.
Members discussed about potential ideas for the plan, including ways to attract businesses and people to the village but didn’t take any action. Busser said the committee would review its plan from 2008 to see if any changes need to be made for the recovery process. Busser said in 2008, 20 to 30 community members took part in that plan and was mainly “focused on residential” parts of the village, like parks. Businesses was a small portion of the plan in 2008, he said.
“There’s probably some major adjustments in some areas with the business district in the downtown area there are going to be major changes,” Busser said. “The residential will kind of be a continual of that some things have changed since that point. So that will be more of just an adjustment.”
The committee plans to meet at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday at the 105 East Broadway Street, the fire station in Rock Springs.