Tuesday, April 8, 1997
Melbourne, Silver Grove
seek flood levee

Fed aid scarce, officials told

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Neediest Kids of All Flood Relief Fund
NEWPORT - Government leaders in Campbell County, Melbourne and Silver Grove pledged Monday to work together to secure funding for a flood levee protecting the two low-lying Ohio River cities.

But while local consensus is important, any flood-control project also must have the backing of federal officials, a state employee told representatives of areas hard-hit by last month's flood.

Because federal dollars that would cover most of the project's cost are limited, ''it's important to get significant congressional interest (in the proposed flood levee),'' said Michael Hale of the Department of Local Government.

Levee cost figured

A flood levee that would protect most of Silver Grove (pop. 1,100) and Melbourne (pop. 665) and reduce flood damages by 24 percent would cost $778,000 to build, according to an initial study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal portion of the construction cost would be $505,700, or 65 percent, while the non-federal portion would be $272,300, or 35 percent.

Campbell Judge-executive Ken Paul and others at Monday's meeting said they plan to meet with U.S. Rep. Jim Bunning, a Southgate Republican, and U.S. Sen. Wendell Ford, a Democrat, to secure their backing in getting whatever federal dollars are available for the project.

Another meet in May

The group - which also included a representative of Cardinal Engineering Corp. in Wilder - will next meet on May 12 to discuss issues such as how much each government entity should contribute to the project, based on the benefits to each.

Mr. Hale said the state has a matching fund that could be tapped for construction of flood-control measures, but he said it could not be used for a federally required feasibility study that Corps of Engineers officials estimated could cost as much as $250,000.

The study's cost would be split 50-50 between the federal government and non-federal sponsors, such as cities, counties and the state.

''I don't care who gets the credit, as long as we keep pushing (the project) along,'' said Silver Grove Clerk Kay Wright, who has pushed for flood-control funding for three years.