FINDLAY -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to appropriate $20,000 this fiscal year for the Blanchard River flood project.
The Corps originally said it could not provide funding this fiscal year because the project was not on last year's fiscal budget, a rule put in place as the result of Washington's continuing budget resolution.
Dave Romano, chief of planning for the Corps' Buffalo district, told The Blade earlier this month about $3 million is still needed to fund a study that must be completed before engineering work could be started on the project. The target date for the study's completion is early 2015, but could be pushed back if funds are lacking.
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The decision to allocate the federal funding was praised this week by U.S. Sens Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green). However, the $20,000 still falls well short of the $325,000 the three congressmen said was the estimated federal need to fund the project the rest of the fiscal year in a July 1 letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
"These funds are a step in the right direction," Mr. Brown said. "However, more work needs to be done."
Area communities in Hancock and Putnam counties have to raise $1.5 million for the study to meet their 50-50 match obligation for federal funds. If additional necessary funding can not be provided through federal means, that money would also need to be raised by area communities.