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Flood regulations could swallow historic attraction near Mankato

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A replica historic village that's drawn visitors to the Mankato area for decades could meet a real-life demise unless federal officials agree to relax flood protection rules.

As the Star Tribune reports, Jack McGowan's cluster of buildings at the confluence of the Le Sueur and Blue Earth rivers has been providing recreation and history lessons to kids for decades. But since the buildings occupy a flood plain, FEMA now says if they're not removed all of Blue Earth County will be ineligible for the National Flood Insurance Program, the newspaper says.

KEYC reports Congressman Tim Walz visited McGowan last week and said he's urging FEMA to show some flexibility about the situation. Walz told the station: "It's not putting the public at risk, no one's living here permanently so the safety issue's not there, nor endangering people downstream. We're asking them to take a look at the individual case and try to work with both the county and the landowner to make it work."

The Mankato Free Press reports the county has set deadlines for McGowan based on requirements laid out by FEMA. The Free Press says four of McGowan's buildings are to be moved or demolished by the end of the year, and another four by the end of February.

The newspaper spoke with Glynnis Kunkel, who now lives in Madison, South Dakota, but whose fond childhood memories of McGowan's farm are so strong she hopes to return there for her wedding if it's still standing.

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