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Marengo eyes $1M stormwater grant

February 17, 2010
Marengo officials hope to land a $1 million federal grant to make storm drainage improvements in several key areas in the town.

The Disaster Recovery Program grant — funneled through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs — would not require a local match.

The town, through an earlier $30,000 grant, with a $4,500 local match, hired Commonwealth Engineers Inc. to complete a Storm Drainage Master Utility Plan late last year.

"Within the Utility Plan, a number of problem areas were identified," Theresa Criss-Hartwig, of Commonwealth Engineers Inc., said. "After the plan was completed, the town prioritized the problem areas."

Mike Haverstock, the town's clerk-treasurer, said the grant, if awarded, won't be able to address all of the areas, but it would pay to correct "four for sure and part of the fifth area we picked."

Among the locations where work could be done include Byrum Street from Park Street to Short Street; north and south of S.R. 64 west of S.R. 66; parts of Pleasant Avenue; Union Street north and south of S.R. 66; and the Adams, Cedar and Jefferson streets areas.

"Using the town's prioritizes, we identified what areas can be fixed with a $1 million grant," Criss-Hartwig said.

Part of the work would include putting in drainage lines and rerouting drainage ditches, Haverstock said. An added benefit, he said, would be new sidewalks in areas where existing sidewalks would have to be torn out.

Marengo has experienced several floods through the years, with some areas being more susceptible to flash flooding than others.

"Especially over in 'old town,' it doesn't take too much rain because it's coming off the highway," Haverstock said.

Criss-Hartwig said the grant application is due April 30.

"We will be holding one public hearing before we submit the application. During the public hearing, we will present to the public what work will be completed if the grant is awarded," she said.

"One major hurdle that must be accomplished before the April 30, 2010, deadline is the environmental review," Criss-Hartwig added. "The Master Utility Plan was given to Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission so that they can begin the environmental review. The environmental review must be completed before the town is eligible to submit the application."

The federal government appropriated funding for local communities, through the Disaster Recovery Program, after Indiana experienced several severe storms in 2008.

Haverstock said the grant, if received, would be "a blessing" for the town, since it wouldn't require a match. Marengo officials, he added, are confident that, based on results of an income survey, the town has a good chance of being awarded the grant.

Announcement of grant awards will be made June 11.

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