Franklin mulls long-term flood control

Published 9:46 am Friday, June 14, 2013


FRANKLIN—Franklin’s Director of Emergency Services Vince Holt informed council Monday of a recent meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in regard to flood control for downtown.

It was a timely report, as the Blackwater River was under a flood warning for this week. Holt said that additional river gauges had been installed on the river to help them see what happens above, north and west of Franklin, and said they had been very helpful.

Holt, City Manager Randy Martin and Mayor Raystine Johnson-Ashburn all attended the meeting with the Corps, and the next stop is to determine if a feasibility study to eliminate or reduce flood impact is possible. Holt indicated he found out during the meeting that a study had been done in 1979 and updated in 1983, and a copy has been requested from the Corps.

A floodwall could range from $6 and $10 million based on updated estimates. The next stop is to look at projects to improve flood mitigation efforts, said Holt.

In looking outside of the box for funding, he said money for moving the water treatment plant, which is almost guaranteed to flood, might make sense and make the current facility into a pump station.

“This would be a good flood mitigation project,” he stressed, adding that it was possible to receive 65 percent in federal funding for such a project.

Holt said such a project would help protect the river too in regard to environmental impacts.

He said council needed to provide a letter of support or a resolution at this point to move forward with continuing a feasibility study.

“There is nothing binding financially — we’d just be looking ahead,” said Holt.

The Corps would move forward to see what it would cost and the city would just be saying it was interested to get final details on the cost of a study.

Martin said he saw it as the next logical step. Mayor Johnson-Ashburn said she left the meeting “very encouraged.”