Thursday, March 13, 1997
N.Ky. river towns
talking floodwall

Campbell official
pursues money

The Cincinnati Enquirer

ALEXANDRIA - Campbell County Judge-executive Ken Paul called Wednesday for the county to explore a floodwall for Silver Grove, and possibly Melbourne.

''As we rebuild this area, we also want to try to protect it long-term,'' he said.

Silver Grove, with a population of about 1,100, and Melbourne, with 665 residents, were among four low-lying southern Campbell County Ohio River communities that were hard-hit by last week's flood.

Mr. Paul, speaking at Wednesday night's fiscal court meeting here, said a floodwall would cost $600,000 to $700,000 for Silver Grove alone.

Because the cost would be prohibitive for either or both of the small communities, Mr. Paul suggested elected officials, from the county to the federal level, work together to explore paying for it.

Mr. Paul also proposed that Cardinal Engineering Corp. in Wilder, at county expense, meet with Silver Grove officials once the immediate crisis has passed, and do any studies needed to help the city get money for a floodwall.

''We appreciate the offer, and we will be in touch with the judge and in touch with the Army Corps of Engineers to see what they would prefer,'' said Katherine Wright, Silver Grove's clerk and former mayor.

While mayor, Mrs. Wright said she first contacted the Corps of Engineers at least 2 1/2 years ago about doing floodwall studies. Since then, the corps has visited Silver Grove five times and recently sought additional money from Congress for the second phase of a floodwall study, she said.

''We knew all along that flooding was a danger, and we've been trying to get a floodwall, but it's not something that's done in a day,'' she said.

The amount of federal money available for such a project would determine how soon a floodwall could be built, she said. ''If the most feasible plan would be (a floodwall) for all of us (including Melbourne), that would be my suggestion,'' Mrs. Wright said.

Melbourne Mayor Maurice ''Dutch'' Hehman said he is willing to consider a floodwall, but must weigh its costs and benefits against other needed projects, such as water lines. Silver Grove ''is more densely populated, but in our community, we're only looking at protecting $300,000 or $400,000 worth of property,'' he said.

However, Mr. Hehman added: ''If Silver Grove decides to go with (a floodwall), I'm very willing to see what we can do to tag on. I wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize their project, but I would certainly like to see the project extend into my city.''