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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Indiana disaster fund first round nearing end

Friday, October 17, 2008

An aerial view of cropland along Big Walnut Creek shows some of the huge areas where sand was left behind and cropland destroyed from flooding earlier this year.
Earlier this year, Putnam County received a $100,000 grant from the Indiana Natural Disaster (IND) Fund provided by the Lilly Endowment to help counties affected by floods earlier this year get started on recovering.

A volunteer local coordinating committee has identified five projects in the county, which they are hopeful of getting funding to make improvements and repairs.

The focus is on identifying root causes of repeated problems in the county and developing a plan to correct these issues to prevent recurring flooding.

"We know that counties need to compile a comprehensive assessment of needs, set priorities and identify available resources. All that requires significant planning work and takes staff support which Round One funding provides," he added.

According to Coordinator of the Local Committee Dick Andis, the five projects identified by the committee and for which they will apply for Round two funds are: Bridges, Ditches and Roads, Cropland and Related Waterways, Edgelea Drainage and Town of Fillmore Drainage.

A recent inspection of county bridges by USI Engineering has shown there are 115 known or suspected bridges with damage. This includes washouts, weak structures, non-visible cavities under roads and exposed pilings.

The Putnam County Highway Department has conducted high-traffic counts on many county roads and is assessing damage to culverts; pipes, ditches and drainage on county roads were they know flooding is an issue.

Their objective is to identify long-term solutions to flooding and washouts.

Long-term restoration is needed for cropland areas where there has been significant land loss. Many acres have been lost along waterways.

In the Edgelea subdivision the flood created blowholes and opened up an ancient sub-surface drain.

In the Town of Fillmore streets were washed out and were approaching structures. They are looking for long-term road fixes.

"Our intent is not to apply a band-aid and wait until the next disaster, but to put in a permanent solution to sustain us through the long term. The Round 2 process will have an extremely high level of scrutiny," Andis told the Banner Graphic.

"There is no guarantee of funding. Every project will compete with every other project," he added.

Originally there were only 31 counties competing for funds but that number has risen to 84 counties.

"We will be seeking alternative funding solutions as we get into this process. I don't know what those will be yet but we have no idea if we will get any of the Round two money or not," said Andis.

The amounts for Round Two grants will vary depending upon the circumstances and needs of each county. The IND Fund has a state committee who will determine the value of each project and the amount of funding.

The IND Fund was established through a disaster relief and recovery grant from Lilly Endowment for $45 million made to the Indiana Association of United Ways in June.

The United Way of Putnam County, Inc. has fiscal responsibility for the funds and organized the group of key community leaders who led the grant application process.

Anyone with questions or concerns about operations can contact Andis directly by calling 765-720-1342 or writing to Richard Andis, Local Coordinating Committee, 1342 E. CR 210, Greencastle, IN 46135.

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