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Parts of Darlington underwater, including Lafayette County Fairgrounds

DARLINGTON (WKOW) — Darlington police were keeping a close eye on river levels this weekend as the Pecatonica River swelled due to the recent rains.

As of Sunday, police reported the water levels were lowering. Unfortunately, several places in the city were left submerged, including the land where the Lafayette County Fair is hosted every summer.

Some local volunteers have been fundraising to get the fair moved to higher grounds for months. Three years before that, they were hosting listening sessions and completing economic studies.

Now, with the fairgrounds flooding for the fifth time this year, those volunteers say it’s even more critical than ever to raise the $3 million necessary for the project.

“Rural communities will die without a place for people to gather,” said fundraising committee vice chair Joe Wedig. “Bring everybody to celebrate what they’re about, both young and old.”

Because the city of Darlington is so close to the river, many areas flood. This weekend, the campgrounds in downtown Darlington also flooded.

Wedig said when the river gets high, the city has to close the bridge.

“It really kind of almost divides the community in its own way, by the river,” he said.

The new events center would be a year-round place for everyone to gather, even when it floods. Wedig said the potential plan can appeal to everyone because it will have updated technology, more buildings and even an ATV campground.

He said they’re even working in a place for seniors to get in on the action.

“In the plans are an awesome place for seniors to gather throughout the region and celebrate old events that they used to have,” he said.

To learn more about the project, click here.

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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