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Unless you have some questions, that will be all.
We have Senator Earl Clements here. We are delighted to have the distinguished Democratic whip of the Senate to appear before this committee.
COVINGTON, Ky., Flood WALL
STATEMENT OF HON. EARLE C. CLEMENTS, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
Senator CLEMENTS. I am not here as a seeker of funds; I am here to present the mayor of Covington, the assistant solicitor, and to tell the chairman of this committee and as I am sure the mayor will tell you-we are thankful for what has been done at Covington and we are anticipating this committee will take the affirmative action that will permit the engineers to finish the flood-wall project at Covington. The appropriation that is in this year's budget will do that, and it may well be completed.
I have a very brief statement I would like to present. In the interest of saving time, I would ask it be placed in the record, together with a statement in support of appropriations for an examination of the Little Sandy River-Zygarts Creek system in Kentucky.
Senator KNOWLAND. That may go into the record in full. (The material referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF SENATOR EARLE C. CLEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR
COVINGTON FLOOD WALL
This project will comprise a system of earth levees and concrete walls designed to protect the city of Covington, Ky., from floods of the Ohio River on its north and the Licking River on its east. Lying directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Covington, with its population of over 65,000 persons, forms an integral part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area. It is connected with Cincinnati by three bridges, and serves as an important connecting link between the North and the South because of the railroad and highway arteries passing through it.
This project was authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1936, and 1937 amendments thereto, being a part of the Ohio River Basin. It is designed to give protection to Covington against floods as great as that occurring in 1937, which reached the maximum height ever recorded. The 1937 flood inundated the city and rendered uninhabitable many of the homes, industries, stores, schools, and churches. The project comprises 2 miles of earth levee, about two-thirds mile of concrete wall, and several pumping stations for disposal of sewage and drainage during floods, and is estimated by the engineers to cost $734 million.
To date, $634 million have been spent on this project which is now nearing completion. In his budget message the President of the United States has requested that $900,000 be appropriated for fiscal year 1955 to complete the Covington flood-wall project. When the flood wall is completed, Covington will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the project. Average annual benefits accruing to the finished project are estimated to be $475,000.
It is respectfully urged that the $900,000 approved by the engineers and recommended by the President for the Covington flood wall, be appropriated so that this project may be completed in the coming fiscal year, thereby affording full flood protection to Covington.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR EARLE C. CLEMENTS IN SUPPORT OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR
COMPLETION OF THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF THE LITTLE SANDY RIVER
TYGARTS CREEK SYSTEM IN KENTUCKY This is a flood-control project in northeast Kentucky on Little Sandy RiverTygarts Creek systems, which are tributaries of the Ohio River. Flood conditions in the region of the Little Sandy River-Tygarts Creek exceeded $7,500,000 over the 10-year period 1940–50. These figures are based upon estimates of the damage within the five counties of Boyd, Greenup, Lawrence, Elliott, and Carter, affected by the floods. Over one-third of the farms in the watersheds of Little Sandy River-Tygarts Creek suffered the ravages of the floods.
As a result of these recurring damages, Soil Conservation officials organized the group known as Little Sandy River-Tygarts Creek Flood Control Association to work for upstream flood control on the watersheds of Little Sandy RiverTygarts Creek. Public hearings held by the Corps of Engineers in 1950 at Grayson, Ky., aroused the interest and whole-hearted support of the farmers and citizens in the area.
In 1950 the Committees on Public Works of both the House and the Senate adopted resolutions calling for a review of reports on the Ohio River and its tributaries with a view to determining whether the recommendations contained in those reports should be revised with respect to flood control on Little Sandy River-Tygarts Creek. Following this, the Secretary of Agriculture in 1950 stated his hope that a survey could be initiated on the two watersheds.
As you know, work was initiated on the preliminary survey pursuant to the resolutions of the Senate and the House Public Works Committees. This survey, however, was suspended because it did not meet certain criteria set forth in a Presidential directive for the curtailment of nonessential work during the Korean emergency. Inasmuch as hostilities in Korea has ceased, it would appear that this is an opportune time to finish the preliminary examination. The United States Engineers have stated that only $7,500 is needed to complete this survey.
In conclusion, let me state that I am personally familiar with the severe flood damages suffered repeatedly by the people in this area and respectfully urge that you include $7,500 in the appropriations for the coming fiscal year so that the survey may be completed on the Little Sandy River-Tygarts Creek system.
Senator CLEMENTS. These two members of the official family of Covington are not going to impose on the committee's time. They do have statements, and they will handle them in such way as the chairman of this subcommittee desires. We do want to repeat to you that we do not want anything to happen to that appropriation in the budget estimate.
Senator KNOWLAND. I know you have been very diligent in bringing it to the attention of this committee both this year and in prior years.
You may proceed, Mayor Maloney.
STATEMENT OF JOHN J. MALONEY, MAYOR, COVINGTON, KY.
Mr. MALONEY. I have a lengthy statement.
Senator KNOWLAND. The statement may be printed in full at this point. You may give the highlights.
(The material referred to follows) :
STATEMENT OF JOHN J. MALONEY, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF COVINGTON, KY., CONCERN
ING FEDERAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE FLOOD WALL IN COVINGTON, KY.
The city of Covington, Ky., is crowded into the northwest corner of the Ohio and Licking River junctions. The city covers approximately 612 square miles, and the 1950 census gives the population as 64,275. This is an average of almost 1,000 people per square mile, which is very high for a city of this size.
After the disastrous flood of 1937 the need of protection from the waters of the Ohio and Licking Rivers at flood stage, was quite obvious. With a riverfront of better than 4 miles (about 242 miles on the Licking River and 112 miles on the Ohio River bank) the damage was widespread. Almost 3,000 homes, 350 business houses, 13 churches, 9 schools, and 2 hospitals suffered from the swollen waters of the 2 rivers.
Public-spirited citizens, backed by an active and energetic press, immediately set about making plans for flood protection. The Corps of Engineers recommended that flood walls be built to protect the most populated areas from both rivers, and the United States Congress very graciously accepted these recommendations and appropriated moneys to get the projects under way.
The construction was divided into two parts: viz, a levee to protect the city from the Ohio River and also a levee to protect the city from the Licking River.
The people of Covington, by referendum vote, approved a bond issue of $690,000 to pay for the necessary rights-of-way.
The Ohio River section was started first, and on November 15, 1952, it was completed at a cost of $3,287,700. This wall protects 1,513 homes, 237 business houses, 5 churches, and 3 schools. This section of the city is now improving as people can spend more money on their homes without fear of an almost yearly inundation. They are all very grateful to the Congress and the various Federal agencies for this valuable protective measure.
The Licking River section was started in the spring of 1953. The estimated cost is $4,465,600, of which $2,100,000 has been expended as of January 31, 1954, and an additional appropriation of $900,000 is needed to meet the total estimated cost. It is this additional appropriation that we are requesting this honorable body to grant, so that this project may be completed in the fall of 1954.
This levee when completed will protect, in addition to that area protected by the Ohio River wall, 1,403 homes, 113 business establishments, 8 churches, 6 schools, and 2 hospitals. In addition to the present development, the levee will make available land for about 80 additional homes where the land is presently inundated as soon as the rivers reach a flood stage which is 52 feet.
This latter item, viz, the opening of more land for development, is particularly important to Covington. While rivers form the east and north boundries, the basin of our city is more or less a level plateau breaking sharply against rather steep hills rising about 300 feet above the basin. There are several easy draws for roads to the higher country beyond, leading to fringe area developments of many incorporated towns, cutting off expansion in Covington. It, therefore, becomes important that as much land as possible be made available for homes.
As to the nature of the buildings to be protected and the employment of the people living in this area, I believe it adds to the importance of the protection. While it is not necessary to stress necessity of schools and churches, I believe I should add in passing that we have one of the finest school systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and that Covington is a city of many well-attended churches. The businesses to be protected are meat packing plants, laundries, drugstores, groceries, lumber mills, trucking companies, cafes, monument works, dry goods and notion stores, storage garages, machine tool companies, retail appliance stores, service stations, swimming pools, recreational areas, and a trailer park.
The nature of employment of most of the people is more or less varied. forms a good segment of the labor supply of the great industrial plants in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, just to the north of Covington, and separated only by the Ohio River. It is but a 15 minute bus ride from most any place in this area to downtown Cincinnati. Those who work in Cincinnati are of course in addition to the many working in various industries in our own city, who contribute much to the war effort as well as general commodities for home consumption.
While it was stated earlier that the city had approved a bond issue of $690,000 to pay for the rights-of-way for the levee, it has been necessary to expend $14,833.46 out of the general fund in addition to this sum as the cost exceeded the original appraisal, due to rising values in the interim between the original appraisal and the actual purchase. It is also estimated that an additional $12,000 will have to be spent out of the city's funds to acquire ponding areas that were not calculated in the original estimates by the city.
It should be emphasized that the additional $900,000 asked for is only to complete and finish the present construction which has been effected. None of the moneys would be used for additional levees or anything other than the necessary pumps and movement of earth needed to bring the Licking River section of the flood protection works to a proper completion.
It We therefore believe that with the sums already expended weighed against the improvements and benefits to be gained by the completion of this levee, that the increased expenditures both by the city and the Federal Government necessary for completion, would be money wisely spent.
We therefore earnestly request this honorable body to concur with the Corps of Engineers and grant this additional $900,000 necessary to complete the Licking River section of the Covington, Ky., flood wall.
Mr. MALONEY. There are only two more things to be brought up here. That is the money expended by the Federal Government and the money expended by the city of Covington. It will take but $900,000 more to complete this worthy project, and I have set forth in the statement the reasons for it. No doubt it was worthy or there would not have been the original appropriations in the first place.
The city of Covington had issued $690,000 worth of bonds. The interest rate was 212 percent. We were very fortunate in that respect. We were compelled to spend for rights-of-way, $44,833.45, which came out of our general fund in addition to that. We will have to expend about $12,000 more to obtain certain rights-of-way for ponding areas.
We are very grateful for that part of the flood wall that has been completed. It has placed a good portion of our city behind those flood waters, and the people are very happy about what has happened. With what money has been appropriated, plus $900,000 more we will be able to complete the flood wall by the fall of 1954. On that basis I have prepared this statement.
I also have with the statement a map showing all of the area involved, that which has been protected and that which is to be protected.
Senator KNOWLAND. Yes.
Senator, if you care to make a statement now, the committee will be glad to receive it, or your statement may be printed in the record and you may make such other remarks as you care to.
COVINGTON, Ky., FLOODWALL
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN SHERMAN COOPER, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
Senator COOPER. Congressman Brent Spence is here from Covington who represents the district, and I think he would prefer to testify at perhaps more length.
Senator KNOWLAND. We are glad to have the Congressman here.
Senator COOPER. This project is practically completed. This appropriation, if good contracts are secured, might complete the situation. The Bureau of the Budget, despite their efforts to bring in line our budget sensibly, recommended the appropriation of funds to complete these projects. I know that the committee will find no reason which would lead them to do otherwise. I sincerely hope that this appropriation will be maintained. I think it could end the cost of the project. STATEMENT OF HON. BRENT SPENCE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
Representative SPENCE. I am not going to repeat my statement. I want an opportunity to file a statement with reference to the continuation of the appropriation for the Covington flood wall, and also I believe the committee gave me the privilege of submitting some data in a statement on the Sandy-Tygart Creek flood-control project in east Kentucky. I desire to file them both.
Senator KNOWLAND. We are glad to have your statements, and we are particularly pleased to have you appear in person before our committee. (The material referred to follows:)
STATEMENT OF HON. BRENT SPENCE
I know the committee is familiar with the facts, and what I say may be mere repetition. The amount that has heretofore been appropriated for the construction of the flood-protective works at Covington is $6,720,000. All of this has been expended except $266,700. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $7,753,300. The $900,000 contained in the budget which we now ask this committee to appropriate will complete the work.
It is absolutely essential to complete the construction of this project at the earliest possible moment as an uncompleted wall furnishes no protection against recurring floods that may come at any time. In the last 90 years there have been approximately 45 major floods of the Ohio River that have devastated the cities and caused great damage and suffering to the people. The completion of this wall will be an assurance against the repetition of these catastrophes and will afford to the citizens a peace of mind and assurance of safety which they have not heretofore had.
I earnestly ask this committee to recommend the appropriation of the amount requested in the budget and by the Army engineers.
Many of my constituents are very deeply interested in the proposed Little Sandy-Tygart Creek project in Boyd and Lawrence Counties, Ky. The people in the entire watershed of these two streams are greatly affected by floods which have inundated the lands in Boyd, Lawrence, Greenup, Carter, and Elliott Counties. The soil conservation authorities in Kentucky have estimated that the damage to the farms alone in this area by floods during the past 10 years amounts to $2,442,781 ; and the total damage is estimated as $7,500,000.
The Army engineers have estimated that it will be necessary to expend $7,500 for the preliminary survey, but I am informed that they will be unable to give consideration to this matter at all until the project is placed upon the eligible list which can be done by this committee. I earnestly request the committee to authorize the Army engineers to place this project on such list.
I desire to file with my statement a letter I have received in regard to this project from Col. G. T. Derby, district engineer at Huntington, W. Va.
CORPS OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY,
Huntington, W. Va., February 12, 1954. Hon. BRENT SPENCE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. SPENCE: Reference is made to your letter dated February 4, 1954, in which you request information concerning the authorized preliminary examination report for flood control on Little Sandy River, Tycart Creek, and tributaries in eastern Kentucky.
Preparation of the flood-control report was authorized in 1950 by committee resolutions of the Senate and House with the scope of the report being limited by the House committee to a preliminary examination. The study was assigned to the district engineer of the Huntington district on August 3, 1950. The district engineer held a public hearing at Grayson, Ky., on October 25, 1950, at which