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Too Much For A Dutch Boy

By Mike McGarry

October 10, 2013

Just having taken a trip around Hartford's dike system, your reporter is alarmed at the direction that our efforts to hold back the Connecticut river has taken.

One of the multiple (too many) hats that your servant wears is that of a "Commissioner of Flood Control". It is a state appointed position that, thankfully, only meets a couple of times a year to approve changes/improvements in the region's flood plan.

Up to now, its mainly been technological jargon about pipes and sewers with an occasionaly bridge thrown in. But, a recent tour has brought a realization that the city is not keeping up with it's responsibilities.

It all has to do with downsizing of the Public Works Department and its flood control/Hartford dike infrastructure. Miles of dikes, retraining ponds, pumping stations, all need constant care and monitoring. A few years ago, we had nine flood control employees, now we have three. And one is ready for retirement. Is that control?

Something is really wrong when Hartford, with the highest mill rate in the state - 74 mills - puts major taxpaying acres, the North Meadows, and Downtown in danger. Old timers remember the floods of 1936 and 1938. But nobody remembers the flood of 1984 because of the protection of the dike.

All around the country, rivers flood: the Mississippi, the Mohawk/Hudson, the Ohio, but we stay dry because of the investment in flood control. All this may fritter away, or, the Army Corps of Engineers may step in and bankrupt us with huge costly fix ups. We maybe 80 million behind right now.

So, Congressman Larson, rather than beat up on Republicans, why can't you find the support from the current administration to help with this regional problem?

The Congressman, the Mayor, the Council and all our State Reps and Senators should visit all the flood control facilities throughout the city and along the river, see the problem, and then find the resources to continue to keep us safe and dry.

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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