Winslow levee recertification vital for city, county, tribes

WINSLOW, Ariz. - U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) met with officials from Navajo County, the city of Winslow and the Navajo and Hopi Tribes at the Winslow levee north of Interstate 40 and on the west bank of the Little Colorado River for a discussion of the project to recertify the levee.

Kirkpatrick has been working in Congress to obtain funding for the recertification process and is committed to seeing the process completed as quickly as possible.

Among those meeting at the levee were Navajo County Supervisor Jesse Thompson, Floodplain Administration Trent Larson, Winslow Mayor Robin Boyd, and Navajo County Treasurer Manny Hernandez. A smattering of concerned citizens and friends of the group were also present. Thompson praised Kirkpatrick in his opening remarks for her diligent work in getting funding for the rehabilitation project.

Larsen talked about the project and said that it was a vital project for Winslow and the county. He said that much was close to being completed on the project but that it was very important that it continue and be completed. Delays are seen as a threat as they could make the work already done less useful. He said that he was sure Kirkpatrick understood that importance and would work to see that funding was made available.

Kirkpatrick spoke and agreed that the project was very important to Winslow and the Navajo and Hopi Tribes as well as Navajo County. She said that she was very pleased to work with everyone involved and said that the key to getting the job done was to work together for this project which would benefit all of those entities and more. She said that people like Supervisor Thompson and Mayor Boyd were great to work with because they knew the value of success and what needs to be done to achieve it.

Boyd said that he, too, had enjoyed working with Kirkpatrick, Thompson and other Navajo County personnel, which was the only way the project can be done. He reiterated that the recertification of the levee would be very beneficial to the city and the citizens of Winslow.

It has been estimated that around $600,000 is paid each year to insurance companies for flood insurance since FEMA declared that much of Winslow is in a flood plain. In addition, persons who wish to improve their home to a large degree find that they must spend a great amount to raise their property because it is in a flood plain. Many projects are just not done because of this and similar flood zone requirements.

Getting the levee recertified and much of Winslow out of the flood plain would greatly benefit a majority of Winslow residents. This would be especially helpful in this time when financial resources are meager and many are either unemployed or fearful of becoming so. The benefits of a successful recertification project would also be of great value to the county and both the Navajo and Hopi tribes. Both tribes have land that is subject to flooding which would be better protected if the levee is upgraded and certified. The chances of being able to add other significant improvements would also be enhanced.

This is seen as a major project for all of these entities and one that would also benefit the state by protecting Homolovi State Park among other things.

Prior to going to the levee, Kirkpatrick, her husband and District Director Virginia Turner had met with Boyd, Hernandez and others at the Hubbell Trading Post/Winslow Chamber of Commerce and toured the city and the new police complex. She announced a grant for a police officer at that complex and cited the need for an effective police force during tough economic times.

The tour of the city came on a day in which the city was celebrating the Just Cruisin' Car Club car show and several other events. Kirkpatrick said that she was glad to be able to come to the fine exhibit on such a beautiful day in Winslow. She praised the community for the work that many citizens have done to make that event and others a success during these difficult times. She said that if we all work together things will get better and we will get the people who want to work able to work again.

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