Athens levee project needs to move along
Athens is slowly getting back onto its feet following the devastation caused by flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011.
About a month ago, many business owners and members of the community gathered together to celebrate how far they've come and highlight the rebuilding of the business district.
As was reported in The Review: Members of the Athens Business Association wanted to hold the fair to show "the strength of the businesses and community," said Deanna Barrett, president of the ABA and owner of Urban Connection Salon. Barrett said 35 of the 41 Athens businesses affected by the flood have rebuilt and returned, or are in the process of renovating their flooded storefronts.
But even with the strength the community has shown and the rebuilding, many must have the same thought: Could this happen again?
An approximately 400-foot section of the Chemung River levee in Athens Borough was eroded as a result of last year's flooding. Temporarily, the damaged area has been protected by a repair made by the borough's public works department last October.
A year later, borough officials continue to work with the Army Corps on a permanent fix. A delay in paperwork submission by the project's contractor has pushed back the start of the project back, as well as a property-related issue regarding the ownership of part of the damaged section.
To his credit, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey has written a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers expressing his dismay that the construction has not yet begun of this most-important project. He asked officials to expedite the permanent repairs to the levee, as well as requested continuous updates of the project's progress, including estimated start and completion dates.
Hopefully Mr. Toomey's letter will be taken seriously and the levee construction project will move forward as quickly as possible. Athens depends on it.