EDGERTON, WI—The residents in the Town of Sumner are excited to announce the $495,000 Jefferson County road construction grant projects are coming to an end.

This excitement, however, wasn’t always the case for the residents in the Town of Sumner. Back in 2008, the massive flooding of Lake Koshkonong and Rock River left the Town concerned for its safety and financial future. Many residents were stranded in their homes and with roadways being impassable, something had to be done quickly.

John Dohner, Town Chairman, quickly stepped into action. “There was a tremendous loss of revenue, personal items, and roadways, which totaled millions of dollars.” During the time of the flooding, Dohner was serving as a volunteer firefighter and discussed the issue at hand with Brian Demorrow, Edgerton Fire Chief. Demorrow had suggested looking into what types of emergency grants were available.

“We immediately contacted General Engineering Company when we learned the grants were available. They (GEC) scrambled out here and instantaneously got to work on the grant applications, we knew we had to call in the experts.”
-Barb McGann, Town Clerk

At the time, newly elected, Town Clerk, Barb McGann remembers the moment they had learned of the available grants, but only had 48 hours left to apply. “We immediately contacted General Engineering Company when we learned the grants were available. They (GEC) scrambled out here and instantaneously got to work on the grant applications, we knew we had to call in the experts.” McGann recalls.

GEC had determined that the Town was eligible for The Community Development Block Grant Emergency Assistance Program (CDBG-EAP). This type of grant is exercised when communities experience a natural or manmade disaster, like the severe flooding that had occurred in 2008. GEC also devised a plan for the roadways that would not only repair the roads, but would prevent erosion and damage, if future flooding events were to occur.

Scott Anderson, Project Engineer at General Engineering Company, explained “We worked with the Town of Sumner’s Citizen’s Road Committee and the Town Board to use the grant money across the most impacted roads.” Some of the biggest improvements to the roads included raising a 1,000 foot stretch of North Shore Drive and providing shoreline rip rap armoring and vegetation along Blackhawk Island Road. “By raising North Shore Drive, residents can safely access High Ridge, Lamp, and Willow neighborhoods, if flooding events were to occur,” Anderson stated.

Other repairs also included restoring the drainage to the North Shore, Willow, and Lamp intersection, asphalt patching, and culvert replacements for Danielson Road. GEC also raised a 1,300 foot stretch of the most flood prone stretch of Blackhawk Island Road.

Although, there still is a long-road ahead to recovery from the record-setting flooding of 2008, which saturated the Jefferson County area with almost 13 inches of rain in a two-day period. Many residents can rest assured thanks to the quick acts of Town Officials and the newly elevated and constructed roadways.