Wednesday, March 19, 1997
Falmouth shifts county
services to trailers

The Cincinnati Enquirer

FALMOUTH - Trailers and rented space are becoming the foundations for the new Pendleton County seat.

Officials say that before Falmouth - nearly demolished by flood waters from the Licking River on March 1 - can return to what it was, city and county services must be provided.

Rented trailers housing various departments are now scattered throughout the city. Other offices have relocated to temporary spots in space donated by local businesses.

Tuesday's nearly 1 inch of rain slowed the moving process and halted some cleanup efforts, giving disaster officials cause for worry.

The Licking River is expected to crest at 28.5 feet at 1 a.m. on Thursday, half a foot above flood stage, National Weather Service Hydrometeorologist Mike Gallagher said.

That's still far below the 52-foot depth of two weeks ago - and about the point at which people began to worry then.

Disaster Emergency Service Director Craig Peoples said he didn't expect major flooding, but he did meet with police and state DES personnel to discuss a plan of action.

Even if the waters do rise again, there isn't much left to destroy.

City employees are using a room at ATK Manufacturing as their headquarters. City Hall is still filled with mud, debris and the remains of Falmouth records.

County offices are working out of a trailer next to the Courthouse.

Falmouth police now park their cars at the corner of U.S. 27 and Earle Street, beside a trailer they are using as police department.

At the county fairgrounds, the sheriff's department and the emergency operations center sit in trailers set side by side, a few hundred feet from the Southern Elementary School.

On the other side of town, an empty trailer on Ky. 330 next to Penco Storage awaits the health department, now using some space at the Farm Bureau building on Main Street.

''We're all open for business,'' County Judge-executive Donald Mays said. ''It's just a matter of carrying on.''

Repairs on the Courthouse should be completed in about eight weeks; the ambulance building, jail and county barn should be operable in six weeks, Mr. Mays said.

Things may take a little longer for the city building, but services will not stop, Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Strong said.