WASHINGTON - After the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) decertified the Winslow Levee in 2008 because of a number of levee failures, about 2,700 property owners found themselves in a new floodplain. And they found out their mortgage lenders would require them to buy flood insurance.
U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, announced last week that the Army Corps of Engineers will give Navajo County $499,000 for a Feasibility Study for the Winslow Levee.
Much of Winslow's infrastructure falls within a 100-year floodplain behind the decertified levee. Winslow's wastewater treatment facility is in the floodplain along with the city's police, sheriff, fire, emergency response and healthcare buildings. In a 100-year flood event, first responders' ability to respond would be seriously compromised, leaving vulnerable communities especially at risk.
"In our small towns and rural regions, infrastructure means progress and economic development. In Winslow's case, it also means protecting this community from a disaster instead of leaving it vulnerable," Kirkpatrick said. "This feasibility study is an important step toward rehabilitating and recertifying the Winslow Levee."
Supervisor Jonathon M. Nez, chairman of the Navajo County Board of Supervisors, said Navajo County has worked with the Army Corps to make significant progress to complete the Winslow Levee Feasibility Study.
"This work is only possible with the continued support of Congresswoman Kirkpatrick and the Corps of Engineers," he said.
Supervisor Jesse Thompson, District 2, Navajo County, said the $499,000 will help the county complete a feasibility study by September 2014 "so that we can move forward to rebuild a robust levee."
Winslow is an important part of the transportation and commerce corridors that criss-cross Arizona. Interstate 40 and the BNSF Railway's main east-west rails run through Winslow to service national markets.
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