City To Receive $880,000 For Mitigation Project
“We have secured $880,000 to solve this problem once and for all,” said Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman. Coleman presented the City of Burgin with a check for flood relief. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will provide $562,500, and the Kentucky Department for Local Government will provide $317,500 from the Flood Assistance Program. Burgin, particularly along Water Street, has been plagued by flooding for as long as anyone could remember.
“We are solving a decades old problem with no cost to the city,” Coleman said on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Burgin Fire Department.
With the federal government currently at loggerheads, the presentation was a rare example of politicians from both major parties working together for a common goal. Employees from the offices of Rep. Andy Barr, whose district now includes Mercer County, and Rep. Brett Guthrie, whose district used to include Mercer County, were present, as were both the current mayor of Burgin, Joe Monroe, and former mayor Jim Caldwell.
They were part of a large group of people who worked to make the project happen, but no one worked harder or more persistently than Burgin resident Margie Brothers, whom Monroe jokingly called “the meanest woman in Burgin.” Monroe said Brothers would hunt elected officials down at campaign rallies to ask them what could be done for Burgin.
“If I’ve got a problem and need someone to fight, I’ll call her,” Monroe said.
Brothers said four generations of her family—including her parents, her children and grandchildren—have dealt with flooding in Burgin. On Tuesday she said she had pictures from 1962 showing people being evacuated from their homes in boats.
“There are no homes on Water Street anymore,” she said. She said she was glad something was going to be done, and attributed it to “everybody getting together and getting something accomplished.”
The FEMA funding comes through the pre-disaster mitigation grant program, which makes federal funds available to state and local governments to reduce the risk to individuals and property from future natural hazards, while also reducing reliance on federal funding from future disasters.
The grants will go toward installing two 30 inch pipes at least 150 feet under the city as well as pumps to control flooding. While the money goes a long way towards finally getting the project started, Monroe cautioned Burgin citizens to be patient.
“We’re still looking at 18 months to two years before a shovel hits the ground,” Monroe said. “But there is light at the end of the tunnel.”