Al VanDeWalker retires after 24 ½ years as Mayor of Zumbro Falls. As Mayor, he began serving in 1990 and terms ran consecutively thru 2010. He stepped back in to fill a mayoral vacancy in 2012 and completed two more terms. Looking back in history, beginning 1898 thru 2016, Al served as Mayor longer than anyone before him (Zumbro Falls Centennial Book, City Government information-chapter 4). Zumbro Falls has seen many challenges and changes during these years. Al’s leadership, dedication, determination, perseverance and hands on approach has surely been an asset to our community. Thank you!
The city council and residents were faced with tough choices. It was clear the current system was failing and no longer provided safe water for the city. Decisions were made to move forward and replace both the ground reservoir and the water system. Not only was the project costly for the small city and its 177 residents but construction proved difficult. A large rock cutting machine was brought in to cut thru the rock in order to position the water/sewer lines. Residents endured impassible roads during the construction.
The water tower was built first and the distribution lines followed. The construction completion in the fall of 2006 provided safe water and allowed a housing development to move forward within the city.
The Barn Quilts/Valley Giants projects are a part of the Zumbro Valley Art Tour Projects. The goal is to promote tourism and aimed at bringing motorists to the Zumbro Valley.
Barn Quilts in the Zumbro Falls area are located at the Cold Brook Farm, just west of Zumbro Falls and Scooters Bar & Grill, downtown Zumbro Falls.
There are currently 20 locations to visit; approximately 12 of these locations are on or near the Highway 60 corridor. Each one of the Barn Quilts/Valley Giants on display has a story to tell. For example, the Barn Quilt at the Cold Brook Farm has special meaning for Chuck Sprenger and his sister Linda. The double wedding ring quilt was a pattern that Sprenger’s grandmother made and gave 9 of her grandchildren. The Valley Giant art billboard is an image of the late Jim Poncelet that is located on the Terry Poncelet Farm, west of Mazeppa.
These colorful images enhance the valley history and invite visitors to the Zumbro Valley.
The Art Tour projects are funded by the Zumbro Valley Community Growth Initiative (CGI) process; which was facilitated by the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation. This is a multi-county community economic development effort.
The Zumbro Valley Art Tour Map gives the locations along the Art Tour and access to more information.
September 24th is the 5 year anniversary of the 2010 Flood in the Zumbro River Valley. Zumbro Falls endured the greatest flooding in City history. Approximately 2:00 am on September 24, 2010 the Zumbro River flowed over the 28 foot level of the City dike. The river crested 8 feet above the dike. This wall of water flooded homes and businesses, City buildings, the City park, the US Post Office, also State Highways 63/60 were closed. The City, including downtown residents and businesses, was devastated. The national guard was called in to assist along with other state and federal agencies. ZUMBRO FALLS SURVIVED! Residents relocated, businesses rebuilt, the Hills of Zumbro Falls housing development offered a new beginning to those in need of housing, the Buckman Coulee Diversion Project was initiated and directs water over flow to the east of State Highway 63, green space created areas for new trees and beautiful landscaping projects, a Community Garden and Zumbro River Access have been added. The City of Zumbro Falls, Residents, and Businesses continue to move forward.
Explore the Zumbro River Valley area Antique shops. This tour offers 47 Shops, including Frog Town Antiques located in Zumbro Falls, MN. What a great way to enjoy the valley, do some shopping and visit local eateries.
Note: If making a special trip you may wish to phone the shop first so as not to be disappointed in finding a shop closed.
Zumbro Falls has added designated parking for canoes, tubing, fishing and other water recreation. River Access Parking is located on Cty road 68, just off State Hwy 63 at Zumbro Falls. A mowed path leads to the river. Parking on grassy areas in the City Park or on the Dike is prohibited. Thank you. Enjoy the 2015 summer season!
Buckman Coulee Diversion Project in Zumbro Falls Receives Engineering Excellence Award.
BUCKMAN COULEE DRAINAGE CHANNEL – ZUMBRO FALLS, MINNESOTA
Stantec, a St. Paul engineering firm, receives a Grand Award for engineering excellence for its design work on the Buckman Coulee Diversion Project in Zumbro Falls, Minnesota.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC-MN) sponsored the annual design competition. The 48th annual ACEC/MN Engineering Excellence Awards Banquet drew over 250 attendees to the Commons Hotel in Minneapolis on January 30, 2015.
A Grand Award recognized the team’s design of roadway and drainage improvements that addressed flooding in the City of Zumbro Falls.
Following a devastating 2010 flood, city officials sought to mitigate the impact of future disasters – they wanted something that gave them the strength to quickly recover as well. They wanted a system that was easy to maintain and kept their people safe. The channel design can handle large and small storm events (100 year storm events) minimizing the potential for channel erosion, sediment deposition and costly maintenance repairs.
Stantec’s design redirected water from flood-prone areas to an innovative two-stage (high/low flow) diversion channel with a series of steps that gradually conveys storm water to the Zumbro River. A backflow prevention device allows the City to manually control and prevent floodwater from the river from backing into a community park. This system required the reconstruction of intersection TH60/63 state highways in Zumbro Falls, removing four bridges, and constructing a new twin box culvert. The happy byproduct? New intersection geometrics led to enhanced safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. This solution succeeded in mitigating future flooding potential, enabled additional drainage and roadway improvements, and transformed the Buckman Coulee from an unsightly safety hazard into an aesthetic green space and prairie habitat.
The Buckman Coulee Diversion Project was a two phase design plan. Phase l began 8/27/2012 and was completed 11/14/2012. Phase ll began 9/9/2013 and was completed 11/13/2013.
The Zumbro Parkway Bridge is an unaltered, stone-faced, double-arch, multi-plate bridge built by the Works Progress Administration in 1937. It carries County Road 68 over a tributary of the Zumbro River immediately south of Zumbro Falls in a rural area of Wabasha County. The corrugated-metal arch is comprised of bolted segments, anchored in place by concrete abutment and pier walls. The interior of the arch features a stamp reading “Multi Plate.” The Zumbro Parkway Bridge is significant as a good example of a multi-plate arch bridge.