Wednesday, December 06, 2000

Duck Creek project to get new funding

Clinton expected to sign flood-protection bill

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFAX — The Duck Creek Flood Protection Project received new life this week after a bill, sponsored by U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, was sent to President Clinton after passing both houses of Congress.

        The measure reauthorizes the project with a bigger price tag and was sent to the White House Monday for President Clinton's signature, said Sara Perkins, deputy press secretary for Sen. Voinovich.

        The bill calls for a series of floodwalls, pump stations and levees to prevent flooding. Ms. Perkins said President Clinton is expected to sign the bill into law.

        The bill, known as the Water Resource Development Act of 2000, authorizes the additional cost of the project, which has escalated to $36 million — more than twice its original estimate. It also caps the amount local municipalities must pay.

        The corps completed a study of the creek in 1986 after the village of Fairfax and city of Cincinnati requested it. The original estimate was $14 million.

        Delays in getting rights of way, new designs and specifications pushed the cost up, said Linda Murphy, project manager for the corps.

        “We had to go back to Congress to get reauthorization to include the additional cost,” Ms. Murphy said. Duck Creek crosses nine railroads and 10 highways as it runs from Kennedy Heights in the north to the Little Miami River in Fairfax, a distance of 3.8 miles.

        When the project contract was signed between Fairfax, Cincin nati and the corps in 1996, engineering designs and inflation had pushed the estimated cost to $17 million.

        Based on a formula with the federal government paying 75 percent and local governments 25 percent, Fairfax was due to pay $928,000, Cincinnati $3.2 million.

        “We knew it would be too much for our share under the original formula,” said Jennifer Kaminer, Fairfax administrator.

        “It was necessary for us to get the cap because reauthorizing the project would not have done us any good if our cost had gone any higher.”

        Sen. Voinovich's bill set the local cap at $4.2 million, which is close to the original local share.

        Tim Napier, president of CNW Inc., which abuts the creek at 4710 Madison Road in Madisonville, was glad to hear the project is on track again.

        “That creek has cost me over $2 million since I moved here in 1981,” Mr. Napier said. “The flash flood in 1997 alone cost $1.3 million, because I was closed a month and had to replace a lot of equipment.”


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