FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - It was a historic day in the city of Findlay and for Hancock County, as phase 1 of their flood control plan broke ground Thursday.
On the northern bank of the Blanchard River, elected officials and representatives from the Stantec engineering firm and the Maumee watershed conservancy district gathered to kick off construction.
This Hydraulic Improvement Project will remove 170,000 cubic yards of soil, lowering and widening this area of the river bank to allow the river to expand into during flooding.
Also, four lowhead dams are being removed to return the river to a more natural state. Once complete, the benching here will lower a 100 -year flood mark by one foot in downtown Findlay.
"Today is a day to celebrate all of those who effected, or impacted by flooding in Findlay. All of those who have continuously supported this community and its efforts to get flood risk reduction. And we are really excited about what the future holds," said Findlay mayor Lydia Mihalik.
Along with removing 600 properties from the flood plain, the project will also open the river up to nature activities and allow wetland seeds to be planted.
Though this project is only phase 1 of the flood mitigation plan, officials continue to work on other ideas to improve life in the county in the event of a flood.
"I think there's options for more benching, but I also think another key component is transportation corridors. We have about six identified transportation corridors to keep people moving, keep emergency vehicles moving. That would be another good step we can take going into the future," said Hancock County commissioner Brian Robertson.
This construction project is expected to be complete by September 2019.