Darlington Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan

Darlington, Wisconsin

Following the devastating floods of 1990 and 1993, in which the City of Darlington sustained serious damage, the City hired Vandewalle & Associates to address community flood hazard risks and to craft flood mitigation and economic restructuring of flood-prone areas of the City.

Darlington is a predominantly agricultural community in southwestern Wisconsin, bisected by the Pecatonica River. The steep terrain of this unglaciated “driftless” area of the State contributes to occasionally severe flooding in Darlington’s downtown area. In July of 1993 and June of 1990, the City’s downtown was flooded, significantly affecting the Lafayette County Fairgrounds, several homes, the Wastewater Treatment Plant, a lift station, the Tri-County Recreational Trail, the City’s fire station, the City’s street network and other structures.

Vandewalle & Associates prepared a flood hazard mitigation plan that included the following elements:

  • Problem/needs assessment to estimate potential flood damages,
  • Discussion of alternative solutions to problems/needs,
  • Preliminary cost estimates of each solution,
  • Identification of potential sources of funding for flood mitigation solutions, and
  • Selection of recommended flood mitigation solutions.

Darlington’s hazard mitigation plan was the first in Wisconsin to be approved by FEMA. As a result of this pivotal planning effort, the City was able to flood proof 19 commercial buildings, while preserving historic storefronts; develop a 33-acre business park out of the floodplain for relocated and new businesses; turn vacated land near the river into a riverside park; and increase the property tax base. V&A continued to shape Darlington’s future by completing its 2005 comprehensive plan.