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Northmont flood project to be revived by Greensburg officials

| Monday, May 12, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Greensburg officials will meet later this month to review a flood-control project decades in the making.

City and state officials will discuss the Northmont Flood Control Project and their need to obtain nearly 50 property easements with area residents at 7 p.m. May 29 in city council chambers, city Administrator Sue Trout said.

The project will limit flooding for at least 15 homes on Northmont, Kenneth, Kenmore and Beaver streets, city officials said.

“The project is very important,” Mayor Ron Silvis said. “We want to get this project done.”

Silvis served on council in the 1980s when the project and flooding were discussed. Over the years, the work was shelved because of other flood-control work in the city and a decline in flooding in the Northmont area, state Department of Environmental Protection officials said.

Heavy rain in August 2007 renewed interest in the work. After those rains, residents began complaining to council about flooded basements and sewage backup.

The state has set aside $3.6 million for design, construction and inspection, and the city has budgeted $400,000 to obtain rights of way and for demolition work, tree removal and possible utility relocation, Trout said.

One focus of the this month's discussion will be recently finalized designs by the EADS Group of North Huntingdon.

Another focus will be city officials' attempts to obtain 48 permanent and temporary easements for land and buildings needed to do the work.

“We have to get all the easements,” Trout said. “Once we get all of them, they can bid out the project.”

If all goes smoothly, construction could start next year, she said.

City officials said they might use eminent domain powers to take the properties if residents won't sell them.

“We may,” Silvis said. “I think the majority of people want it. I think it's going to be hard, but I want to get it done.”

Over the years, city workers and firefighters have sometimes gone to the area to clear debris — some put there by residents — that accumulates in the unnamed tributary of Jacks Run and contributes to the flooding.

The project proposes taking excess water to a section of Jacks Run near Lynch Field, Trout said.

She described the plans as intricate.

“It's in tight spaces,” Trout said. “It goes under two major roadways (routes 819 and 119) and ends up in Jacks Run.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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