Crunch time

Army Lt. Col. Karl Jansen must know he’s entering a hornet’s nest.
Jansen, the commander of the Buffalo, New York, division of the Army Corps of Engineers, is scheduled to tour various sites today in Hancock and Putnam counties as part of the ongoing Blanchard River flood study.
Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, is expected to accompany Jansen.
While much of his visit is not open to the public, we have a feeling Jansen will sense some tension in the air.
It’s been, after all, seven years now since the Great Flood and, $6 million later, we’re still waiting for the Army to do something.
Some are even starting to wonder if the study is really needed. The lack of communication between the corps and those who are paying for the study is fueling suspicion and adding to the frustration.
Relatively little information is being relayed to the two counties, outside of periodic meetings. There has been opposition since the study was launched, and suddenly, it feels like the wheels are falling off the bus.
Clearly, the negativity increases as corps’ officials remain mum. The corps hasn’t even been able to tell us how it has spent our $6 million.
Efforts to obtain information by the media have been largely ignored or put off. Many more times than being invited, the public is left out of meetings between the corps and elected officials.
Meanwhile, study timelines keep getting extended, but the bills keep arriving.
Now, the Putnam County commissioners could opt out of the study. That county’s unhappiness is understandable. It, too, has gotten few answers to questions, particularly about the I-9 bridge, which has been blamed for increasing the severity of the flooding in Ottawa.
We hope this is just another bump in road.
While Putnam County has no money invested in the study, it has much at stake. The Blanchard River, after all, flows down from Findlay. The two counties are one in this watershed.
It would seem to us that Putnam County must continue to be part of the bigger study since the river runs through it. Certainly, the corps can’t help fix our problem and ignore Putnam’s?
We trust Lt. Col. Jansen will be able to calm the natives and keep the study on track. We’ve got too much invested, both in time and money, for it to derail now.
We, as a community, are eager to have him meet with those who are actually paying for the study.
In fact, The Courier will gladly buy him a steak and put him up at the Findlay Inn & Conference Center if he stays over just one night in Findlay for, as we suggested Saturday, “a welcoming, free, no-holds-barred, no-time-limit, plain-English, grassroots meeting.”

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