By Tricia Bell, Multimedia Video Journalist - bio | email
Findlay, Ohio -
Funding for a flood mitigation study along the Blanchard River Watershed remains in limbo.
It's been nearly six years since the rising Blanchard River buried portions of Findlay and Ottawa under several feet of water. Since then, both communities have been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to complete a study of the flooding problems. However, federal funds for the flood study have dried up.
"We can't continue to just kick the can down the road and put ourselves in a position where we are vulnerable for another major flood. Again, there's been flooding this year. This is not a 100 year flood anymore. This is an every couple of years flood, and to have another flood like 2007 would be devastating to this community," said Senator Rob Portman, (R) Ohio.
So Senator Portman and Congressman Bob Latta stopped by Findlay to speak with area officials and to explain what they're doing to move the study forward. The legislators say they're working with the corps to see if the agency can find about $500,000 to keep the study alive.
"You know, the corps operates like everything else. They've got dollars to do certain things, and if there's no money in it, they just like close the folder because that's it," said Latta, (R) District 5, Ohio.
They have until the end of the corps fiscal year in September to secure the funds. However, Findlay's mayor isn't getting her hopes too high.
"I'd say there's probably a 50/50 chance right now, but one thing for certain the elected officials here and the local leaders, the business leaders are committed to this project. We want to continue to see it finally get to an end point where we can solve our flooding issues," said Lydia Mihalik, mayor of Findlay.
Senator Portman says, if the money is secured, the study could be complete in about a year and a half. Mitigation efforts can't begin until the study is complete.