Officials Continue Search For Fix To Marion County's Persistent Flooding


UPDATED: Wednesday January 15, 2014 8:07 PM

The search for solutions to persistent flooding in Marion County is taking on new urgency.

The problem isn’t new to the communities of La Rue and Prospect, and neither is the quest for a solution.

But after a one-two punch of two devastating floods in just two years, leaders say the future of their community is at stake.

Flooding has taken 10tv to Marion County many times over the years.

In 1987, 1996, 2003, 2011, and most recently this past Christmas.

La Rue Mayor Milton Lightfoot calls December’s flood  "probably one of the worst. Appeared to get into more homes."

Lightfoot says the back-to-back blows of the 2011 and 2013 floods have his residents exasperated.

"Tore out their carpets, threw away the furniture, and we’re getting pretty settled in. And two years later, I'm doing the same thing over again."

Wednesday, Lightfoot and others concerned about the future of these communities met with officials from state and federal agencies, including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Business owners from the area said they're holding off on expansion plans.

"We've put on two buildings in the last 5 years,” said J-Lenco, Inc. owner Ed Murphy. “I would like to put on another one, but I'm not sure what to do, to be real honest."

School officials talked about the threat of dwindling enrollment.

No one agency had the answer, but each offered some guidance.

"This group will help you work through what the possibilities are, what the costs are," said Christopher Thoms of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Fixes won't come quickly, or cheaply, but residents tell us they see cause for optimism.

The alternative, they say, is just not an option.

Asked what is at stake, Barbara Stofcheck of the La Rue Community Alliance answered, “well, I think it's our community. Our La Rue. The people in Kiwanis have told me, ‘Barb, I've lived through the ’1.  I've lived through the 13. I can't do another one’."

The Army Corps of Engineers will visit La Rue February 3rd to get a first-hand look at the area.

According to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, since 1913, La Rue has been the site of 12 major floods.

They have had 17 floods considered “moderate,” and 8 categorized as “minor”.

The US Army Corps of Engineers conducted studies of the area in 1962 and 1978.

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