Last updated: August 25. 2013 12:18AM - 63 Views

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OTTAWA — Like pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle coming together, community leaders and residents in Ottawa are slowly getting a picture of the town’s resurgence from two recent floods. They’re also embarking on a major effort to make sure it doesn’t happen again.So far, the picture is looking bright, despite the massive damages in August and February, village officials said.During a regular meeting of Village Council on Monday night, council members learned more about a major project with the Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate flooding in Ottawa and Findlay.Jeff Loehrke, community improvement director, told council the Army Corps of Engineers recently received the village’s $98,000 in federal money for its part of a $1.2 million study during the next two and a half years.Of the cost for the study, Loehrke said there is a shortfall of $250,000 from the federal government, which is still being requested.Next week, he, Mayor Ken Maag and Findlay officials will go to Washington, D.C., to meet with legislators “face to face to make sure they realize the need for the money to complete the study,” Loehrke said.They will be gone Monday, March 3, and Tuesday, March 4, he said.Loehrke said the community will need to get the help of local businesses and industries to mitigate flooding.“We’ll need businesses to contribute money to help as well,” Loehrke said. “We’ll have a meeting [with business owners] March 6 at the Red Pig Inn to see about additional financial help.”Melissa Babcook, water director, gave council a presentation about a study she conducted about the recent flooding, using data collected from the National Weather Service.The study looked at rainfall amounts during each the summer and winter floods.“The summer flooding was proportional to precipitation,” she said. “The winter had more factors than just precipitation. It could be due to snowfall that’s already on the ground, the frozen ground, ice jams in the river. That affects the flooding that occurs in the river. It’s not so much precipitation as much as a combination of those factors.” During the last 12 years, the frequency of the river going over the 23-foot flood stage is increasing. It’s becoming at least a yearly event, she said.Jason Phillips, waste water director, told council members the Federal Emergency Management Agency helped with mitigation issues at the EMS, fire and police buildings. Those three hope to start repairing in the near future.Phillips said the village received $15,000 in flood insurance for February flooding at the Taft Street fire station and they received $3,000 from FEMA for mitigation.In terms of clearing debris from the river, Safety Service Director Rich Knowlton, Maag and Phillips recently met with Laurie Collins, grant project coordinator for the county’s river cleanup project.“She gave us a lot of information,” Knowlton said. “It’s going to be a wonderful program for us. During the first year, it will invest $1 million in the community with possibility of going another year for another million. It should be very helpful.”

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