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Jury continues compiling drainage information

VIDALIA— If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Concordia Parish Police Jury hopes 185 photos of flood-damaged houses are worth the estimated $3.6 million needed to complete a parish-wide drainage study.

Parish grant writer Donna Remides presented an update to the board Monday regarding information she submitted Friday to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Remides has been compiling the data since the 10 to 15 inches of rain that fell over nine days in January left many residents with damaged property.

“We had 185 structures, which consists of houses, piers, slab structures and mobile homes, that were damaged from the heavy rains we saw last month,” Remides said. “And I’m still having people getting in touch with me saying they get worried every time it starts raining.”

The goal of compiling the data, board President Melvin Ferrington said, is to prove to FEMA that there is a need for a drainage study in the parish.

“It’s one thing to call and tell them we have a problem, but all this information proves we really have a problem with drainage here,” Ferrington said after the meeting. “A picture is worth a thousand words, and (Remides) has a bunch of pictures and information.”

The more damage parish residents and businesses receive from flooding, the more funding the parish can be eligible to receive, Ferrington said.

Once FEMA has assessed all the information sent, the agency will tell parish officials how much funding is available to put toward the study, which the board estimates will cost $3.6 million.

“Hopefully all of this information will help us get as much of that money as possible,” Ferrington said. “If we get money through them, then we can start advertising for the engineers to conduct the study.”

That study will likely tell the board some things they already know, such as the need to control water levels in the Black River Lake area and to divert water at Brushy Bayou in the northwest part of the parish into the Tensas River.

But other issues and possible solutions may come out of the study that will give long-term solutions to the parish’s age-old drainage issues.

“We’ve just got to do something to solve the drainage problem in this parish,” Ferrington said.

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