COTTAGE GROVE -- Snowmelt has turned Pine Tree Valley Park into a lake. Walking paths, benches, and shrubs are submerged. And yes, it does look a tad ominous.

But those with homes near the park shouldn't break out the sandbags.

“It does look a little dramatic, but people shouldn’t worry,” Cottage Grove communications manager Scott Seroka said.

City engineers said the park is designed to accommodate even higher levels of water.

“They’re monitoring it but aren’t concerned at this point,” he said. “There is an overflow structure in place at the south side of the pond.”

Once the water rises to a certain level, it would drain through a pipe that would carry the water away from the area, Seroka said.

One resident called to express concern, he added.

Engineers, police and public works crews are busy checking catch basins and roadways for potential troublespots , but it’s more of a precaution at this point, Seroka said.

Crews did pump out excess water at 97th Street and Jamaica Avenue, he said.

“This year the flood threat has definitely increased,” Cottage Grove deputy public safety director and police Captain Gwen Martin said.

The city has met with their counterparts at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and gets regular updates from the National Weather Service, she said.

To stay updated, residents should sign up for CodeRED, the city’s emergency notification system.  They will receive text messages regarding floods, evacuations or missing child alerts.

To register, visit

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