RANDOLPH, Neb. (AP) — Residents in a northeast Nebraska community hope a creek channeling project will bring new development.
Middle Logan Creek cuts through Randolph, placing much of the city in a federally designated flood plain. The designation requires many residents to have costly flood insurance. Other regulations affect the city’s construction of new buildings or renovations to existing ones.
Residents last month voted in favor of a 1.5-cent sales tax increase needed for an up to $14 million project to widen and deepen approximately 1 mile of the creek and remove 131 structures from the flood plain, the Sioux City Journal reported .
City administrator Kelsey Backer said the project would reduce the city’s flood risk. She said she believes that the flood regulations have discouraged development over the years.
“It restricts our development possibilities, whether it’s residential or business,” said Backer.
The creek has flooded 14 times in the past 100 years, said Backer.
The city began exploring how to get removed from the flood plain in 2001. Momentum has picked up in recent years after the city received commitments of $8.52 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, $1.97 million from the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, $120,000 from Cedar County and $75,000 from Pierce County to fund the channel work and replacement of five of six bridges that currently span the creek in town.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” Backer said. “It’s the closest the city has ever been to finalizing this project. The dream of reducing the flood risk in the city is finally becoming close to reality.”
A $2.76 million U.S. Department of Agriculture loan was the last piece needed to propel the project forward. The loan depended upon the passage of the sales tax increase, which will be used to pay off the loan. Soon after the sales tax measure passed, the USDA announced the loan.