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Partnerships worth the effort to protect levee

Securing funding required all levels to come together

The funding pieces are coming into place, through the efforts of many people at different levels of government, for the reconstruction of the city’s levee.

That is good news for residents whose homes have been protected by the levee for more than half a century. And it is important news for the businesses and industries provide thousands of jobs locally and are protected by the structure.

Most recently, a $5.6 million grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

That particular grant will go to the portion of the levee along Lycoming Creek near Bowman Field. It requires a $1.4 million match, and already a consultant is working on a state grant to provide that match.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, said the $5.6 million grant announcement should “give confidence to businesses and industry wanting to expand operations” in the city.

Indeed, it should give confidence to anyone who has worried about the future of the levee, or the future impact on local taxes if the final tab for the project had to have been shouldered alone, without federal or state assistance.

The entire project is anticipated to cost from $13.6 to $16 million and was mandated during a recertification process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

That may seem like a lot of money until you consider that the levee protects an estimated $4 billion in residential, industrial and commercial real estate in the area.

Were it not to be repaired and recertified by the Army Corps of Engineers, those protected by it would need to pay for costly flood insurance and face an increased potential for flood damage were the levee, untouched, to fail.

It has taken years for the funding pieces to be put into place. The effort has been made at every level of government — city, county, state and federal — and the work of everyone involved at every level has been worth it.

Imagine what else could happen if more partnerships with a common goal were formed.

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