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Janesville parks, bike paths remain closed

By Margo Spann, mspann@wisctv.com
Published On: Apr 23 2013 07:57:43 PM CDT
JANESVILLE, Wis. -

Several parks and bike paths in Janesville remain closed as officials keep their eyes on the Rock River.

Janesville Assistant City Manager Jay Winzenz said things are beginning to stabilize, but the rainwater isn't helping the river levels drop. Some officials in the county believe the worst of the flooding is behind them, because the lessons they learned in 2008 are helping them to be more pro-active. Some businesses located on the river feel the same way.

"In 2008, we had tables and chairs down here, and files stored in both of these rooms," said attorney George Steil.

Fast-forward to 2013, and the basement of law firm Brennan and Steil looks very different since the 100-year flood in 2008. As rainwater pushes the Rock River over it's banks, Steil said, their four pumps will keep running 24 hours a day.

"It's an inconvenience, but it's not a disaster," he said.

About 4-5 inches of groundwater has pushed its way in, but he said additional sandbagging is keeping the power on.

"The city put sandbags on the river wall, they did that in 2008 as well as this year, but the sandbagging around the transformer made a big difference,” Winzenz said. “There’s a pump in the transformer area keeping the water away from it."

Winzenz added the city also learned a lot from the 2008 experience. Now officials are waiting for the river to drop.

"Then we'll start cleanup activities. We'll have to retrieve all the sand bags," he said.

Steil said his firm put several contingencies in place, and it no longer stores valuables in its basement. So far, things are under control at Main and Milwaukee streets.

Rock County Emergency Management Director Sgt. Shena Kohler told News 3 sandbags are still available for residents living in areas experiencing extreme flooding. You can get them by contacting your local town or village officials.

If elderly residents need help putting them out, the county may be able to help with that, too -- just contact the county's Emergency Management Department at 608-758-8440.

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