GIRARD Council, Corps at odds on dam



The Corps of Engineers has given the city 45 days to respond to its suggestion.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- City council doesn't agree with the Army Corps of Engineers that Lower Girard Lake Dam should be totally breached.
"These are their suggestions, but we don't have to agree with them," Charles Doran, D-4th, said at Monday's council meeting.
Doran, chairman of council's property research committee, was reacting to a letter made public earlier in the day by Mayor James J. Melfi in which the corps recommended that $980,000 be spent to demolish the aged concrete structure.
"This alternative provides the most flexibility for future reconstruction options ...," wrote Col. Raymond K. Scrocco, engineer in charge of the corps' Pittsburgh district.
At the same time, Scrocco gave the city 45 days to inform the corps what action it will take or it will lose $1.14 in federal funds set aside for work on the dam.
Total breach of the structure is among five alternatives the corps considered. Four were not recommended because they are too costly or not the best from an engineering standpoint, officials said.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has warned the city the dam could fail under certain conditions.
In addition to the $1.14 million, the city has $575,000 from the ODNR for maintenance of the lower and upper Girard lakes.
Meeting
Doran called for a meeting of his committee to discuss the alternatives, which Melfi sought from the corps.
Council President Louis J. Adovasio and Councilman Renny Palone, D-1st, said they believe the corps never really offered viable alternatives.
Doran said he wants more details before meeting with the corps. He was supported by Palone and Joseph Christopher, D-at large.
In his letter, Scrocco said he asked his staff to investigate alternatives. The team considered nine, but four were not feasible because of cost and safety concerns, he wrote.
Besides a total breach, the alternatives include reducing the height of the dam by 121/2 feet or a partial breach.
Mayor's stance
Melfi said before the council session his opinion remains that the dam should be breached.
The mayor noted he will support whatever action council takes as long as the city water fund is not touched.
He also said he will not raise water rates because the lakes don't generate any revenue for the city.
yovich@vindy.com

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