Tyrone eyes levee risk assessment

TYRONE — At the request of a local couple, Borough Council will look into what must be done to apply for a risk assessment of the levee along the Little Juniata River on the southeast side of town, in the Park Avenue neighborhood.

Erosion has deteriorated the levee over the years such that water is likely to overtop it if the borough has weather like last year, said Jacob Stazewsky of the 400 block of Lund Avenue.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when” the never-completed levee will fail, said Sarah Stazewsky.

“It’s amazing to see the volume of water that flows through when it rains,” Sarah said.

The borough can apply for the free assessment by the Army Corps of Engineers this year, but because of funding issues, the Corps wouldn’t be able to perform the assessment until next year, said Sarah, who has been in touch with officials from the Corps and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Construction grants might be available, based on the assessment findings, Sarah indicated.

Pictures the couple distributed to council showed exposed dirt on the river side of the levee — the result of levee soil falling or washing into the river, Sarah said.

The levee was first proposed in 1945, according to Borough Manager Ardean Latchford.

It was constructed in the late 1960s and the 1970s, according to Sarah.

During the Carter administration, federal funding became unavailable to finish it, Latchford said.

At that time, the borough could have completed it for $3.5 million, but residents defeated a proposal to spend that money in a referendum, Latchford said — “except for the Park Avenue residents.”

Sarah volunteered herself and her husband for any committee that might be formed to pursue maintenance repairs.

“We’ll see where it will go,” Latchford said.

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