Flood mitigation project will allow future expansion of Falk plant

West Milwaukee-based Rexnord Industries LLC is getting $2.3 million in federal funds to help prevent flooding at its Falk plant in the Menomonee Valley on Canal Street in Milwaukee.
The funds will be used to extend the height of a flood wall by about 3 feet, which will protect the property from a statistical “100 year flood,” said Dan Sterk, director of operations support. The flood wall sits on top of a berm along the property and separates the plant site from the Menomonee River.
The flood mitigation work will also include improvements to the property’s stormwater management, including the addition of retention ponds and larger storm sewers, Sterk said.
The company is working with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District (MMSD) on the stormwater management projects, Sterk said.
Rexnord wants to do the flood mitigation work so it can eventually expand its operations at the Falk plant.
“Without doing this we can’t expand the operation because we are in a floodplain,” Sterk said. However, there are no specific expansion plans at this time, he said.
Nevertheless, city officials are optimistic that the flood mitigation projects will eventually lead to more jobs at the Falk plant. About 700 people there currently, Sterk said.
“They made it very clear that their goal is to grow that facility,” said Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming.
“The Falk facility has a long history in our community, and we look forward to the possibility of increased employment there in the future,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Without the flood mitigation improvements, the state Department of Natural Resources will not allow Rexnord to build any new buildings on the property unless they are flood-proof, which is cost prohibitive, Sterk said.
The Falk property has had flooding problems for years. Flood damage from the last two years caused about $500,000 in damages, Sterk said.

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