[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) today announced that the Army Corps of Engineers will move forward with a Keith Creek feasibility study.
“The flooding in August marked the second time in eleven months that Rockford and surrounding area residents have been devastated by flash flooding,” said Durbin. “Today’s funding for the Keith Creek feasibility study is a step toward preventing future damage to homes and businesses. I commend the Rock Island District for coordinating with the Corps headquarters in Washington to secure the funding and I will continue to work with Congressman Manzullo to urge swift action on this project.”
“I am pleased the Army Corps of Engineers is now making the Keith Creek Feasibility Study one of its top priorities for this region,” Manzullo said. “This funding will allow the Corps and the City of Rockford to begin developing a comprehensive flood control project to prevent further disasters in the future. I will continue to work with Senator Durbin to keep this effort moving forward as quickly as possible.”
On August 13, 2007, Durbin and Manzullo met with Colonel Robert Sinkler, Commander of the Rock Island District of the Corps of Engineers, asking that unused Corps funds be reprogrammed to the Keith Creek project. The Keith Creek feasibility study will determine what steps need to be taken by the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Rockford to prevent flood damage to homes and businesses in the future.
Flooding last month in the City of Rockford has again raised concerns over Keith Creek and Alpine Dam. Assessments indicate that homes and businesses located in the path of the rapidly rising flood water in the City of Freeport in Stephenson County and the Village of Cherry Valley and the City of Rockford in Winnebago County received the most severe impacts of the flash flooding. President Bush issued a major disaster declaration for Stephenson and Winnebago Counties (Rockford area) for damage caused by severe storms and flooding August 7-8 as requested by Governor Rod Blagojevich and supported by Durbin, Manzullo and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).
In a meeting in September of last year, the Army Corps of Engineers provided Durbin with an update on the condition of Keith Creek floodplain and the aging Alpine Dam, as well as a summary of the potential danger facing the City of Rockford if no action is taken. Corps officials noted that immediately implementing emergency repairs can help prevent dam failure while the steps to provide a long-term overhaul of the structure is implemented. Durbin and Corps leaders discussed possible legislative steps that would allow the Corps to address the need for emergency repairs immediately.
On September 5th, immediately following the Rockford flooding, Durbin and others sent a letter to Col. Sinkler asking Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to give priority to both long and short-term rehabilitation of Alpine Dam. Durbin has been working with Congressman Don Manzullo (R-IL) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) to address the flooding issues.