When: Council meeting, Aug. 13.
What happened: The borough received a large state grant to help prevent river water flooding, officials announced. The project will cost $459,850, with $390,872 coming from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and $68,978 from the borough.
Scope of project: Construction workers will install flapper valves to help keep floodwaters at bay during large storms, such as Tropical Storm Lee, council President Glen Mazis said. He said end walls and flapper valves will be installed on the 26 outflows, pipe drains that run under the railroad embankment and drain to the river.
Why it matters: When the Susquehanna River rises above the 50-foot level, water pressure pushes the water back into Marietta through the outflows, onto Front Street, where there are restaurants, small businesses and historic homes attracting a growing number of Northwest River Trail users, Mazis said. The flapper valves and end walls would prevent that from happening. About 100 homes and businesses in Marietta are typically flooded during what is considered a nuisance flood, Mazis said. For every nuisance flood, property damage is estimated in the range of $2.5 million to $4.5 million, with one restaurant, McCleary’s Public House, sustaining $325,000 in damage. Mazis said the last flood cost the borough $110,000 in emergency management expenses reimbursed by Federal Emergency Management Agency. He said there have been 13 nuisance floods in the past 80 years.
Background: Mazis said the project has been discussed in Marietta for the past 20 years, and it has been his main goal to complete while serving on council. Secretary/Treasurer Sharon Bradnick wrote the budget information for the grant, while Arro Engineering designed the project. Supporting the project were state Rep. David Hickernell, state Sen. Ryan Aument and U.S. Congressman Lloyd Smucker, along with the Lancaster Planning Commission Flood Mitigation Team and the Lancaster County Commissioners. Gov. Tom Wolf also visited Marietta in April to check out the flooding situation.
Quotable: “It was a bipartisan political effort from a lot of people who really showed some concern for this borough. And that was very gratifying,” Mazis said.
What’s next: The borough will accept bids in the fall, with work slated to begin in the spring, Mazis said.