Public Meeting on Bloomsburg Flood Protection Project
Information on the Bloomsburg Flood Protection Project will be presented at a public meeting, Thursday, April 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the banquet hall at the Bloomsburg Fire Department, 911 Market Street. The $30 million project essentially consists of two flood walls, the first protecting Autoneum North America, Inc., and the second located at Windsor Foods. Together, the companies employ approximately 900 people. Both companies are contributing funds to the project.
Design and engineering for the project is expected to take one year, with construction occurring within the following two years. “This is a very aggressive schedule,” according to Bill Seigel, Chief, SEDA-COG Community Development services, “but it is essential that a project of this magnitude be completed within terms of the contracts with state and federal funding sources.”
“And floods can happen anytime. The sooner we get these systems in place, the sooner Bloomsburg will be provided with a significant measure of flood protection.”
Last year, on behalf of the Columbia County Commissioners, SEDA-COG prepared and submitted an application for $15 million in Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds for the project. The Commonwealth is providing $11.8 million from the H2O PA program, through the efforts of State Senator John Gordner and Representative David Millard. SEDA-COG will administer the grant funds while overseeing development, construction, and implementation of the project.
The County Commissioners will open the April 18 public meeting with an introduction to the project. A brief history of flooding in the Bloomsburg area will also be presented. Two years ago, Autoneum and Windsor Foods were struck by floods resulting from Tropical Storm Lee. The industries were initially impacted by flooding from Fishing Creek, and then again from the Susquehanna River. Autoneum, a manufacturer of automotive floor and auxiliary mat carpeting, sustained over $60 million in losses, while flood damage at Windsor, a manufacturer of pasta products, exceeded $7 million.
Information about the two companies and their economic impact on the Town and surrounding region will be presented by Fred Gaffney, President, Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce. Bloomsburg Mayor Dan Knorr will represent the Town, and the final speaker of the evening will be Glenda Ruch, Project Coordinator, SEDA-COG, providing an overview of the Flood Protection Project. Ms. Ruch’s presentation will be followed by a question and answer session