March 15, 2019 – Newburg, WI – “This year is much worse than the last two years,” said Randy Roesler, vice president with Newburg Volunteer Fire Department.
For three years now the annual flooding happens every time spring rolls in and the ice breaks up.
“I expect there will be more damage ahead especially as the ice breaks up east of Gonring Park on Highway M,” Roesler said. “I don’t know what it will take to get it cleaned up but obviously there is substantial damage.”
Aerial footage shows the extent of the flooding at Fireman’s Park in Newburg. The rushing water has buried the baseball diamond, pulled down fencing and community leaders fear it may eventually take out the concession stand.
Wollner Plumbing & Excavating is using heavy equipment to try and clear a path so the water can flow downstream however the speed of the Milwaukee River has been difficult to manage. “No homes are in jeopardy but if there’s enough ice coming through it could take out the shack or the hamburger stand or the fence,” said Roesler.
As far as what’s ahead for Fireman’s Park, Roesler said “we don’t know what’s going to happen this year.”
“It’s a very expensive ordeal to undertake and we’re a non-profit organization and the expense is on our dime… so I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Roesler said the flooding has become much worse since the dam upstream was removed by the DNR.
“I remember on year back in the 1970s …. but it’s been nothing like this,” he said.
On a history note: In December 2011, reporter Don Behm with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote about the removal of the dam at County Highway MY. A portion of his article is below.
Demolishing the historic dam on the Milwaukee River here would enable fish and other aquatic life to move freely between Grafton and West Bend for the first time since the 1840s, Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Director Andrew Struck said.
Newburg owns the dam and village officials have agreed to demolish the 125-foot-long structure next year under a partnership with Ozaukee County’s program to eliminate barriers to fish passage in the Milwaukee River watershed, Struck said.
This is the only dam in the 37-mile stretch of river between the Bridge St. dam at Grafton and the Barton dam at West Bend.
A wooden dam, at county Highway MY, was built at Newburg in the 1840s and rebuilt with concrete in 1913, Struck said.
Click HERE to read the rest of the article by Don Behm from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.