County assessing flood damage

Published 9:45 am Friday, May 20, 2011

More than 200 sites severely impacted

The harsh storms that hit Lawrence County last week have officials assessing the damage and looking for ways to help the victims.

“There is going to be some long-term recovery for some folks, Mike Boster, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, told the Lawrence County Commission at its Thursday meeting. “Everybody in the county was impacted in some way.”

Boster reported fire departments made between 20 to 30 water rescues and the 911 dispatchers handled more than 600 calls.

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“It was quite a night,” he said. “It was a long night.”

The most heavily impacted areas were Washington, Decatur, Elizabeth, Upper, Perry, Aid, Lawrence, Symmes, Fayette and Union townships plus the village of South Point.

Right now there are 200 sites in the county, both businesses and homes, that were damaged.

“That number is growing,” Boster said. “We haven’t seen everything. We face significant challenges. Some of these folks will never return to their homes.”

But that is enough damage for the county to be eligible for Small Business Administration low-interest loans for damage repairs, if the homeowners or businesses are eligible, Boster said.

At Boster’s request the commission declared a state of emergency for the county by a unanimous vote from Commission President Les Boggs and Commissioner Bill Pratt. Commissioner Paul Herrell was absent because of illness.

Boggs reported receiving a response from Gov. John Kasich that he had received the commissioners’ letter requesting that the Ohio River Valley Juvenile Correctional Facility in Franklin Furnace remain open.

State Rep. Terry Johnson wants a meeting with Kasich on the issue with the commissioners and Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship attending.

“We are the type of people who are going to fight to the very last day,” Boggs said.

In other business the commissioners:

• Awarded a contract for legal services for the Department of Jobs and Family Services to McCown and Fisher law firm at $60 an hour;

• Received correspondence from Sen. Tom Niehaus appointing Sen. David Daniels to the county’s Transportation Improvement District;

• Referred the demolition agreement for Mended Reeds property on Vernon Street to Cindy Anderson at the Community Action Organization.