Updated: Friday, 01 Mar 2013, 10:04 PM EST
Published : Friday, 01 Mar 2013, 10:04 PM EST
VINCENNES, IND (WTHI) - A Wabash Valley community begins piecing together funding for a major upgrade in its flood protection system.
Vincennes faces a mandated levee certification from the FEMA, and has already identified $5-million in needed improvements.
The city is also trying to locate the money needed to pay for the repairs.
The Wabash River is running full and slipping out of its banks at Vincennes, but the community is pretty oblivious to any flood danger.
The levee system here has worked for a half century, but officials are now under a mandate to make certain it continues to do the job.
"We know of a pretty good list of projects that will have to be completed for our levee certification," said Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum, "but we know it's not a final list."
The city has applied for at least $2-million in grants for levee upgrades, received permission to re-allocate unused overpass money to re-work a flood gate on 2nd Street and approached the Redevelopment Commission for another million dollars.
"The levee is a pretty serious project," said RDC member Marc McNeece. "It protects our city and the residents within the city and RDC sees it as extremely important and we're willing to fund it."
By law the RDC can only spend money in areas that are part of the Tax Increment Finance Zone and that means that almost all of their commitment is going to go along Culbertson Drive.
"Projects they can jump on now they're going to do now,"said McNeece. "They'll have to bid some. It will take maybe a year, 12 to 18 months here."
"It's a top priority," added Yochum, "and I'm confident that we will get everything done that needs to be done and we will stay certified."
The plan is to get as many funding sources as possible, so the levee project can be done without big increases in taxes or fees.
The city is still awaiting a final report from the Army Corps of Engineers for a complete list of improvement projects.
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