The Highbanks Ravine historically existed as the primary drainage path for Lake George and a portion of downtown St. Cloud. As the City developed, Lake George decreased in size and most of the ravine was replaced with stormdrain pipe. Currently, the ravine receives runoff from approximately 125 acres and is approximately 690 feet long, and 40-feet deep with very steep, unstable side slopes. The unstable slopes continue to erode with each significant rainfall, causing bank failures as well as safety and water quality concerns.
The City has worked on planning and design for a rehabilitation project on the Ravine for many years. The project is designed to intercept and re-route runoff from the existing storm drain pipe system that discharges through the ravine into a new storm drain pipe system from 3rd Avenue South to a current outfall slightly south, into the Mississippi River. Some erosion repairs and stabilization will occur in the ravine after the re-route. The City is also in ongoing discussions with the MN DNR regarding potential structural improvements to the bat cave as part of this project. The Highbanks Ravine Rehabilitation Project was originally planned to be constructed in 2022 after State and Federal funding was secured; however the COVID pandemic, material shortages and significant construction price increases have led to the ongoing delay in this project.
Spring 2023 Update: The project was put out for bid in 2022 and construction bids were significantly over the engineers estimate and the available funds. The City has been working with engineers to review cost saving opportunities within the design, as well as researching additional funding opportunities. The City has requested the inclusion of this project short-fall in the 2022 Bonding Bill that is currently being discussed at the Capitol. It is the hope of the City that funding will be secured and construction could still occur in 2023.