The Minong Flowage Dam Project: What it Means For Lake Home Buyers and Sellers

By now you may have heard that the aging dam on the Minong Flowage is about to be replaced. The project is currently scheduled to begin in May of next year, and the water level of the entire flowage will be dropped by approximately five feet throughout the summer and fall.
The project’s estimated $1.09 million cost will be covered in part by a state grant of $400,000 and a commitment of $100,000 from Dahlberg Light and Power. At this point it appears the remainder will be covered by property owners living within special assessment districts being established by Douglas and Washburn Counties.
So what does all this mean for buyers and sellers on the Minong Flowage? First, whether you’re buying or selling, don’t panic. Earlier today my buyers closed on a beautiful lake home on the Minong Flowage. They knew about the dam project, they didn’t panic, and they got a great deal. But the sellers didn’t give it to them for free; they didn’t panic, either. And neither should you.
Yes, properties on the Minong Flowage will probably be assessed for their share of that remaining $600,000 or so. Given the number of homes, cabins, and vacant lots on the Flowage, that might average out to very roughly $1,000 each. But since the actual number will probably be based on each property’s assessed value, it will be different for everyone. More information will be forthcoming in the months ahead.
But the bottom line is this: The assessment will be relatively small in proportion to the value of these properties, it may not all be due within a single year, and it’s not a reason to panic. Sellers can plan on either building the amount into their price or handling it as a separate credit. For rational buyers, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
There’s still, however, that matter of the five-foot drawdown that’s currently scheduled to begin April 15 and last through the summer and fall. On a shallow bay, it could mean much of the lakebed is exposed for the entire summer. Elsewhere, the water is going to be noticeably lower. There’s no getting around that fact.
But if you’re thinking of selling your home or cabin on the Minong Flowage, do you really want to wait until 2014 or beyond—especially if some of your neighbors are doing the same? It’s no guarantee you’ll get a better price. And if you’re ready to move on to the next stage in your life, then you’re ready now. For you, it may not make sense to wait until 2014 or 2015.
If you’re buying, then this year and next could be an especially good time to find a tremendous value on the Minong Flowage. You’ll experience one summer of shallow water, but you’ll also get to enjoy your dream cabin or lake home one summer sooner.
For project details, check out the Washburn County website at There, you’ll find the most current schedule and also maps, feasibility studies, and project plans.
If you’d like to learn more about what your Minong Flowage property might be worth in our current market, or if you’re looking for the lake home, cabin, or building site that’s perfect for you, please give me a call. I’d be glad to help you out.

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