The city of Ste. Genevieve will not be working any longer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on its proposed flood mitigation and recreational plans.
During a work session last Thursday, the Board of Aldermen agreed that city administrator Martin Toma would write the Corps a letter informing it that the city will not be participating in the long-discussed plans.
The original plans go back to the 1980s and have undergone several major changes. During that time, the city’s relationship with the Corps has gone through different stages, as well.
“The Corps and Ste. Genevieve developed this very confrontational relationship,” Toma explained. “When I showed up here [in 2011] and went to my first meeting, people were yelling at each other and saying bad things and calling names,” he said.
Things have mellowed somewhat since then, but the Corps’ modified plans, introduced in 2016, left local residents a bit cold.
In November 2016, Michelle Kniep, study manager, gave a presentation on the project during a public hearing.
The flood mitigation plan, in addition to widening the North and South Gabouri creeks, recommended “wet floodproofing” of 13 structures and the elevation of another.
Both methods of elevation and wet floodproofing would deprive owners of their current basement space.
In both cases the idea was for floodwater to enter the sub-first floor areas through the vents and to drain out through the filler materials. This would also necessitate breaking up of concrete basement floors to allow drainage.
Toma said Thursday that neither of those options had appealed to citizens.
“A lot of the people here left [saying] ‘I’m not doing that. My house is small enough as it is,’” Toma said. “It didn’t appear to us that if the Corps offered that, anybody was going to take it.”
The money that “could be used for the benefit of the citizens” has been sitting in the bank, he said.
“We haven’t been spending it because we’re waiting for you to come up with something,” Toma said.
The Corps’ plan also had a recreational phase, putting a 10-foot-wide asphalt walking/biking trail along the top of the main levee, with a small parking area to be included.
See complete story in the May 1 edition of the Herald.