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Families have difficult time stomaching thought of digging up lo - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Families have difficult time stomaching thought of digging up loved one

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FARGO, N.D. -- Seven local cemeteries in part of the diversion project staging area are at risk of being flooded and may have to be relocated. That means hundreds of headstones and caskets may have to be dug-up and moved. 

The Fargo City Council and Diversion Authority met Thursday afternoon to talk about recent findings of the environmental assessment, which looks at the huge impact the diversion will have on the land. 

It's been hard for some family members to hear this news and stomach the thought of digging up their loved one from their final resting place. 

Valley News Live spoke to two families today, one from Comstock and the other from Fargo. Both have family buried at cemeteries affected by the diversion. They didn't want to speak on camera, but were strongly against moving forward especially because they planned to be buried next to their loved ones in the same cemetery someday.

Army Corps. official say they know the strain this puts on families.

"This is a very sensitive topic, there are many people concerned about what's going to happen to these sights where their loved ones are buried," said U.S. Army Corps. Project Manager Terry Williams. "We want to make sure we're being open with the public and transparent."

The feasibility study totaled 22 million and evaluated properties from staging up-stream and took a closer look at the impacts of flooding: which locations are hit worst and what problems they could experience. The study lists potential mitigation options such as anchoring head stones, cleaning up after water rises, replanting grass or protecting berms.  

A caretaker has been chosen for each cemetery. It's the first step to work with the public.

"Their options are to know we're looking at it and, we're going to come up with a plan," said Williams. "We committed to doing that. We're going to work with the caretakers, see what they're thinking, what they want to do and take their input and put it into a plan."

If you have a comment or concern you'd like to voice, your time is soon to come. Within the next year project managers will listen to community opinions to see how they can better assist their needs. 

The Diversion Authority will continue to study the seven impacted cemeteries. The next step for the Diversion Authority is to develop a plan to address this issue within the next year.

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