Feds keep northwest Ohio flood plan afloat
Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:50 PM
FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) -- Community leaders in northwest Ohio who are pushing for the completion of a flood control study in an area that has been swamped by flooding were hoping for $1.5 million.
Instead, they got $20,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
But local officials say the money is at least enough to keep the project going and keeps it in line for more funding next year.
"Though most residents will find the amount understandably disappointing, it will make the project eligible for the 2014 budget process, which will be the next critical crossroad," said Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson.
Finding a solution to the flooding along the Blanchard River has become a top priority for the region about 50 miles south of Toledo. Five major floods since 2007 have brought millions of dollars in damage to the cities of Findlay and Ottawa.
The worst was in August 2007 when flooding caused more than $100 million in damage.
The corps said this past week it would contribute $20,000 to the flood control study, which along with an environmental review is projected to cost about $3 million. The study is intended to identify potential flood-reduction alternatives.
A six-member regional delegation including the mayors of Findlay and Ottawa traveled to Washington last December to seek congressional support.
Members of Ohio's congressional delegation who've been backing more funding said they were pleased the work will continue.
"The Blanchard River flood protection project is critical for the region's economic future, and I am happy that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded to our calls to identify funds to provide a lifeline for this project to continue," U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, said in a statement.
The corps expects to release a tentative plan in August that will include the most likely flood-control options, said Michael Pniewski, a project manager for the corps.