Letters to the Editor 04-29-17

Do our “county” commissioners realize that part of their duties listed on the website clearly states “preserving farmland” and they are elected to represent that duty?
Let’s get this straight: Findlay floods because it was built in a bowl and development is allowed to continue on former farm ground that already flooded prior to putting up houses, buildings, or pavement.
The city and county own enough land (with use of federal grants) to be able to widen, clean, and build benching structures downtown that will lower the Blanchard River by at least a foot at the Main Street bridge (a good plan).
But, the proposal also includes inducing flooding, via dams, over a large portion of southern Hancock County (including portions of Hardin and Wyandot counties) causing damage to homes, infrastructure, and farming livelihoods that currently do not flood and yet Findlay will still flood.
There are also emergency spillways that will impact more properties that are not indicated on the Stantec maps.
Does it make sense to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to make more taxpayer property experience flood damage? Does it make sense to devalue more property so that the county and school districts get even less money in property and income taxes?
The agricultural community does know how to maintain drainage, since it has been used in the industry for decades.
For the amount of money that has already been wasted on studies, just cleaning out the clogged river would have had a profound effect on what currently floods in Findlay. It is no different than a homeowner who cleans out leaves from gutters and downspouts that are overflowing when it rains; one doesn’t just replace the gutters because they are full.
Removing all tree species from the middle of the river and lower banks (and not putting the cut trees on the banks to float back in) would be maintaining it properly.
If we can’t even maintain what nature provided us, how are we ever going to be able to maintain man-made structures properly?
Our “county” commissioners better pay attention!
Ginger Sampson
rural Findlay

The $20 million raised with the sales tax is being used to widen the Blanchard River in Findlay and remove a bridge restriction. This will drop the flooding by 0.9 feet.
Two thousand feet of bench widening the river on one side and the bridge lower the 100-year flood level almost a foot on the Main Street bridge. Should the focus continue, could this kind of work on the current waterways get to the desired additional 2.5 feet? Is an additional 2.5 feet on the Main Street bridge during a 100-year flood event even required?
The 1992 plan stated it would cut the Findlay flooding nearly in half with 3,300 feet of bench widening for less than $1 million.
Can we do more than 2,000 feet and look at other potential widening, deepening, clearing, straightening, and retention areas along all existing waterways, especially when the cost to benefit is so much greater and it does not flood those who are not currently in a flood plain.
Common pleas judges of the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District have the ability to assess every property in the 15-county watershed to pay for the next phase of Findlay flood control. The counties include Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert, Williams and Wood. Or they may require only those determined to benefit from less flooding in Findlay to pay for it, however the “benefit is determined.”
The proposed next phase is projected to cost $140 million. The conservancy has the dominant power of eminent domain allowing it to take properties for the project.
The project involves adding dams on Eagle Creek south of Findlay and the Blanchard and Potato Run rivers near Mount Blanchard. This would induce flooding into created basins on rural homes and productive farm ground to store floodwater up to the 100-year flood level, or in the case of the 2007 flood, a 500- to 1,000-year event.
The 100-year flood has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year.
Kathy Goecke

Editor’s note: The following is a letter to Judge Reg Routson in regard to the flood-control proposal.
Judge Routson,
I am hoping you will say no, because I go to Riverdale and if you say yes, the school could be flooded, along with a lot of my neighbors’ houses and maybe even my house.
I like finding arrowheads. I have 20, but if you say yes, then the fields will be flooded and then I can’t look for arrowheads.
Another thing to consider is Findlay has been flooded before, so maybe they already know how to deal with floods, but I have never had one flood at my house.
Judge Routson, please consider this and say no.
Ethan Warren, 11

I have lived in/around the Mount Blanchard community for all but three years of my life.
I grew up on a small family farm just south of Mount Blanchard, in a house built by my father and grandfather over 40 years ago (my parents still live in that house).
Their house and the family farmland will be impacted by the proposal to construct dams for the Blanchard River dry basins.
It is morally wrong for the City of Findlay to push its flooding problem upstream to our community, affecting the lives and livelihood of many people and, quite possibly, the Riverdale School District.
The only benefit for our community that I’ve heard is that it will help those that work in Findlay. For the rest, homes and farmland will be lost, property values will go down, flood insurance may be necessary, and our new school may be at risk.
I urge the project manager (Steve Wilson), the Hancock County Commissioners (Timothy Bechtol, Mark Gazarek, Brian Robertson), the Maumee Watershed Conservancy Court (including Judge Reginald Routson), and Stantec to abandon the proposal for dams and dry basins and continue to look for alternatives for Findlay’s flooding problem.
I’m not a licensed professional engineer or an expert on hydraulics or hydrology, but I do have an engineering degree from Ohio Northern University and my current employer has paid me to solve real-world problems for the last 20-plus years.
Other options are construction of another reservoir between Findlay and Mount Blanchard, building up the walls of the river through Findlay, and constructing canals or concrete-lined channels through or around Findlay on city- or county-owned land.
Maybe none of these resolves the problem on its own. But maybe a combination of them would.
Ben Miller
Mount Blanchard

I was born and raised in Findlay and have seen Findlay flooded several times.
My question is, why have the city and county officials allowed all the building in the flood plains around Findlay?
For example, the area along 234 and 236; the area off the old river road behind the Wal-Mart and other stores. And now they are building the new Fox Run Nursing Home and complex in the flood plain west of the South End Restaurant.
My suggestion is, stop wasting our tax money on studies. Build a wall and stop building in flood-prone areas.
Martha Beekman Dunbar
Mount Blanchard

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