There were plenty of kudos to go around, as community leaders and government officials pledged today to put years of disagreements behind them in the interest of developing more flood-control options for Findlay.

That was sentiment at today’s Hancock County commissioners’ meeting, with Clark Lynn Army, general manager of the conservancy district, attending at the request of local officials. Army was in Findlay today to attend a pre-construction meeting for the Blanchard River improvement project, which is set to get underway this year.

Groundbreaking for river benching project will be held at noon Oct. 4 at a location to be announced.

“First of all, I wanted to thank the commissioners for helping us with the project and phase one, we’re very excited. … We want to throw some dirt and show people what we do and get you guys some flood relief. I also want to thank the city for everything that they have done to help us with this, too. You folks have all gone way above and beyond. It’s a pretty cool thing to see something happen like this. I know it seems like forever, but really for us getting involved, it’s been just a couple years ago, and here we are already throwing dirt, and it couldn’t happen without you folks.”

“… If there are projects that come up in the future, based on all of this, as I have mentioned in the press, if it’s something that has broad community supports, makes sense financially, has positive benefit costs and you have a way to pay for it, we’re always interested in hearing what you have, and always willing to help if we can,” Army said.

On Sept. 11, the conservancy district awarded a $6.1 million contract to Helms Construction, Findlay, for improvements to the Blanchard River in Findlay. The river will be widened in Findlay by cutting benches into the riverbank for about 3,500 feet between the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge and Broad Avenue. The benches are meant to increase the river’s capacity. The project will excavate the benches on the north bank of the river. Work is expected to begin this year and be completed by September 2019.

Once complete, the improvements to the river in Findlay are expected to reduce the height of flooding on Main Street by about 1 foot during a 100-year storm. When complete, the project is expected to remove about 600 parcels from the flood plain in Findlay and make travel easier during a flood. Aside from clearing the Blanchard River floodway of houses and other structures, the river widening is the largest flood control project in Findlay’s history.

The public will be able to monitor progress on the project online at www.hancockcountyflooding.com.

Courier reporter Denise Grant is developing this story.

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