OTTAWA -Jason Phillips, Asst. Municipal Director for the Village of Ottawa expressed thanks to Congressmen Bob Latta who sent a letter in support of the Blanchard River Flood Plan. Congressman Latta along with U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown sent a letter to The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, highlighting the importance of securing funding for the Blanchard River Flood Reduction Project (BRFRP) for the second half of fiscal year 2013.
"Continuation of the BRFRP is imperative for the safety and economic growth of the Findlay, Hancock County, Ottawa, and Putnam County communities. The BRFRP has been upheld by the Army Corps as an exceptional national example of the coordination between local communities and USACE to find permanent solutions that safeguard against any future flooding," said Congressman Latta.

"The work plan for the Army Corp is expected to be announced at the end of April," said Andrew Lorenz, Representative from Latta's office at the BRFRP meeting held April 10. The work plan will provide a list of projects for the fiscal year that are chosen for funding.

"That (work flow plan) will determine if our project will move forward," said Phillips.

"We know how important this is and he (Latta) is trying to do everything that he can," said Lorenz

Phillips explained the vertical team had a phone conference to see where the study currently stands on April 10. "It boils down to the funding issue. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks the Army Corp will have an answer," said Phillips

Denise Balbaugh,Village of Ottawa Flood Plain Administrator gave an update of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). "We have the application with FEMA and we have been waiting to hear if we are approved. We ran into a snag where we have to have a Hazard Mitigation Plan. Once it hits the FEMA level they can decided whether or not the grant application can be approved, probably another two to three months to hear back for that." said Balbaugh.

Dick Meyers, NEG Coordinator for Putnam County shared the current river/storm clean up in the county. "One crew is working along the river by Sts. Perter and Paul's Catholic Cemetery and the other by Rd. I-18. With the better weather, our work has greatly improved. As of April 4 we had an estimate of 720 tons out of solid and 33 loads of chips," stated Meyers.

Phillips also shared May 3 is when all the judges gather for their annual meeting, Mike Pniewski, Blanchard Project Mgr., Army Corps of Engineers, will be attending to give them an overview of the project and keep them up-to-date. "By the time we have our next meeting we will know if our plan has been selected and what to do to move forward," said Phillips. The BRFRP will meet again on May 8 at 8 a.m. in the ESC.