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Community pleads for State of Emergency due to ongoing flooding

TOWN OF ROXBURY (WKOW) — Several residents who live along Crystal and Fish Lakes are still flooded or are at risk for flooding as the lake levels stay high. Residents have been asking for action for years and on Wednesday, the town asked the governor to step in.

It was standing room only inside Roxbury Town Hall. Community members listened and spoke up with ideas on how to get the water levels down, and how to keep the area from flooding again.

“I just want to get back in my home,” said Craig Recker as he took part in the public comment part of the meeting.

He’s lived along Crystal Lake for the past 19 years. He and others are growing frustrated about the living conditions on the lake.

“I know it’s going to have to be a big fix, but what about the small one to get me where I need to be — and that’s home,” said one woman in an emotional plea.

Ideas were brought forward by several community members. State representatives were present at the meeting, taking it all in and discussing what they can do.

However, officials with the Department of Natural Resources were not at the meeting. They want proposals from residents and the town before they come to the table and discuss solutions, according to the clerk.

“They want out ideas and there’s no better place to get our ideas than to come to the meetings,” Recker said.

The Lake District voted to send a formal request to Governor Tony Evers to declare a State of Emergency for the area. That declaration would make it easier to get money to pay for solutions.

“Please, please Governor Evers, we need your help,” Recker said as he choked back tears. “It’s been a battle and we need somebody to step in and say hey, we’re going to do this, this time.”

The DNR has to make the ultimate decision on which action to take. Currently, there is a pump on each lake, but residents said the DNR tells them when they can pump and when they cannot.

A long-term solution could cost millions of dollars. It’s money that town leaders say they don’t have.

“That’s why we are asking for this declaration,” said the clerk.

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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