Residents hopeful fixes can save Ohio town

Residents of Zoar hopeful plan can save town.
Residents of Zoar hopeful plan can save town.

ZOAR, Ohio (AP) – Residents of a nearly 200-year-old community in northeast Ohio are hopeful about a plan to fix the aging levee that protects their village from flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had considered intentionally flooding or relocating the village of Zoar but instead decided to try shoring up the levee, which dates to the 1930s.

The corps has proposed an $11.5 million project to address seepage that threatens the earthen structure, including updating pumps and creating a trench and berm to stop seepage, The Repository in nearby Canton ( reported.

As the local partner, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District would shoulder nearly one-fourth of the cost, according to the corps.

Mayor Larry Bell said the proposal discussed at a public meeting this week is a good one.

“I believe we’re closer than ever to having a plan that will work,” Bell said.

The president of the Zoar Community Association, Jon Elsasser, said the plan appears to be “an affordable fix” that could be completed in the near-term and would have only minor impact on the village during construction.

The corps has spent several million dollars on remediation efforts since a flood revealed the levee’s problems seven years ago.

Some locals are more concerned about finding a solution than what the expense is.

“They need to do something,” said Janis Beuter Chaffey, a volunteer at the No. 1 House in town. “I don’t care how much it costs.”

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