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Waterfront homeowners devastated by loss of Manawa Millpond

The pond receded after severe weather last Friday caused a partial dam failure.
Posted at 12:26 AM, Jul 10, 2024

MANAWA (NBC 26) — On Tuesday, I stood where the Manawa Millpond once was. Less than a week ago, the water would have come up to around my neck.

  • Waterfront homeowners in Manawa are devastated after the pond receded
  • The Manawa Millpond flowed out after severe weather caused flooding which partially damaged the city dam

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story, with additional details for the web)

Heather Whalbruck and her husband moved into their Manawa home less than two years ago.

"The water, everything was just nice," she tells me. "We sold our house in New London and decided to buy a house here."

Now, she and many of her neighbors are reeling after severe flooding damaged the Manawa Dam.

"They're all- we're all pretty devastated that now we don't have waterfront."

The flooding caused the millpond, which went right up to Whalbruck's backyard, to recede back to its original state before the dam was built: just another section of the Little Wolf River.

As a result, dozens of homeowners like Whalbruck now have a less-than-desirable view.

"Fishing was a big thing and our, obviously, pontoon that we wanted is just sitting there it's SS Minnow now: marooned," she joked, referencing the TV show Gilligan's Island.

Whalbruck says besides filing a claim with her insurance, she has also been paying attention to updates from the city and is aware that Manawa does not qualify for FEMA benefits.

However, she does hope the city can acquire state funding to bring the pond back.

Beyond that, she's not sure what to do.

"I don't know. I mean, I love my house, so I'm not going to just sell it just because of the water. But that was literally the main attraction to it."

The Manawa Deputy Clerk tells me they are welcoming the public to attend a council meeting on July 15th at 6 p.m. where they'll discuss what's next for the dam and millpond. For more information, you can go here.