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Published: Sunday, 2/24/2013

Flood-control project will be big boost to Findlay economy

ASSOCIATED PRESS

FINDLAY, Ohio — Community leaders in northwest Ohio think completion of flood-control work for the Blanchard River will be a big boost to the area's economic development.

Government and business development officials say a completed flood-control plan will spur even more investment in the community that has been hit hard by flooding in recent years.

Flood prevention has become a top priority along the river, especially since the 2007 flooding that caused millions of dollars in damage in Findlay and Ottawa.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has presented tentative ideas that it says would not eliminate flooding but could decrease floodwater levels by three feet in Findlay during the worst flooding.

Federal officials said in December that flood control for the river could cost up to $150 million or more and have been seeking public comment on the ideas. Funding for finishing the study to come up with a plan continues to be a primary concern and remains uncertain, according to the Corps.

Local officials are confident that a federally-backed food control plan will happen.

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik said that she believes the day will come when rain won't cause anxiety in the area, The Courier reported.

“We will be a community that no longer fears the rain,” she said. “Because of that, our economy will boom. I see us as being the benefactor of great investment now and better investment in the future.”

Hancock County Commissioner Phil Riegle said he foresees far more businesses relocating to downtown Findlay once flood-control work is done, and more green space being created along the north side of the Blanchard River. Findlay-Hancock County Alliance President John Haywood said he expects to see more people living downtown.

All three leaders say they are encouraged by the expansion of existing businesses and believe that expansion shows the commitment those corporations have to the community amid an improving economy.

“We have a good economic and business environment here. I think that makes it easier to invest here than other places,” Riegle said.



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