The company decided to reopen its plant, saving the jobs.
That is just one of the highlights during 30 years of work by the MRBC, which will celebrate its anniversary with a special program at
There still is a lot more work to do, however, and limited state funding makes fulfilling its mission increasingly difficult, said Renkenberger, who has served as MRBC executive director since
"A lot of people don't realize the level of flooding we have (had) hasn't risen to the level it could," he said.
The MRBC was created in 1986 by the
The MRBC focuses on using non-structural flood-mitigation methods, such as restoring wetlands to hold and slow down flood waters, installing filter strips along drainage ditches to slow water runoff and reduce erosion, and installing flood gauges to provide better river monitoring and flood warning capabilities, said Renkenberger, the organization's sole employee.
In addition, MRBC helps secure federal grants to offer voluntary buyouts to home and building owners in areas likely to flood, he said.
The MRBC service area originally contained about 9,000 properties in the flood zone, Renkenberger said. About 4,000 of those properties now are protected by diking, but about 5,000 were unprotected.
To date, the MRBC has helped acquire 269 homes in the Maumee basin and remove them from land at risk for flooding, he said. Many of those buyouts have taken place in
All of the buyouts are voluntary; MRBC doesn't have authority to condemn property, Renkenberger said.
To fund buyouts, MRBC works with local communities and the
The MRBC has helped with about a third of the more than 220 homes purchased and removed from the flood zone in
The city also has many more homes it would like to buy and remove from flood zones, especially in the Junk Ditch area in southwest
If the MRBC doesn't have the funding to help communities with the local match for
The state used to allocate
That typically leaves
He also hopes to ask for an additional
30th anniversary event
COST: No cost to attend program. It will be preceded by an invitation-only dinner. For information, email MRBC Executive Director
-- Stream restoration projects have removed logjams to keep water moving downsteam.
-- Improving the accuracy of flood maps, which in some areas has narrowed what is considered the flood zone, said
In cases of voluntary home buyouts, about 99 percent of the people relocate in the same community, Renkenberger said. That puts money into the local real estate market and tends to increase the value of nearby homes after the buyout home is removed.
"I wish somehow I could convince our legislators there are economic incentives to our program," Renkenberger said.
Another major challenge facing the MRBC involves the federal subsidy for flood insurance.
In the past, homes in flood zones that were built before the flood maps were created in the 1970s have qualified for a federal subsidy to help people pay for flood insurance, Renkenberger said. That subsidy now is being phased out at the rate of 18 percent per year over six years.
It's only the second year of the phase-out, but the MRBC already has gotten calls from people who say they can't afford their flood insurance premium, Renkenberger said. If flood insurance gets more expensive than a homeowner's mortgage payments, some people may just abandon their homes.
Renkenberger also voices concern about future development.
Most of the best land for development already has been taken, he said. If development is allowed to creep into the flood zone, it will pinch the stream and raise water levels upstream, spreading flooding over a larger area that in the past.
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