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GIRARD Mayor says federal money isn't enough for dam repairs



Published: Thu, November 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The mayor will ask Traficant if more money is available.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

GIRARD -- Although he's appreciative of a $1 million federal grant to rehabilitate Lower Girard Lake Dam, Mayor James Melfi says it's not nearly enough.

U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th, announced Tuesday that the $1 million for dam work is contained in the fiscal 2002 federal budget.

Melfi said Wednesday that $10.2 million is needed to rehabilitate the dam.

"We're thankful; we're appreciative," Melfi said of the money that can be used to rehabilitate the concrete on the buttress dam and spillway, make repairs and maintain the structure.

The mayor said he will work with city council and its buildings and grounds committee to decide on a course of action.

The city must decide whether to continue to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to rehabilitate the dam, or replace it.

As part of the decision, Melfi said, he will ask Traficant's office if any other money is available.

The city has been notified by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that the dam needs replaced, although it's not in imminent danger of failing.

The dam was built in 1917, and improvements were made in 1930.

Bought lakes: The city bought the upper and lower lakes in the mid-1990s.

If the $1 million isn't used for rehabilitation, Melfi suggested, the city would probably have to turn it back to the federal government.

Still on the table is the option of breaching the dam and emptying the lower lake with the approval of the ODNR and Corps of Engineers.

Melfi has said that breaching, or putting a hole in the dam to let the water out, assures safety and protects the city from liability.

The city has received a $900,000 federal grant to pay for a study and preliminary engineering to replace the lower dam.

The city did not receive any funding to replace the structure, and $585,000 of the grant remains.

yovich@vindy.com




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