Officials seek funds for repairs

PARSONS – County and city officials gathered at the site of a damaged Tucker County dike Monday to discuss how to raise funding for the necessary repairs.

Parsons City Administrator/Treasurer Jason Myers met with Tucker County Commission members, Parsons Mayor Dorothy Judy and three Parsons City Council members at the recently damaged Pulp Mill Bottom diversion dike in Parsons Monday morning.

Myers said he hopes to have a cost estimate and plans for repairing the diversion dike within the next few weeks. He said has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Tygart Valley Soil Conservation District and numerous elected officials – including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin – trying to find help in getting the dike fixed.

Since the last meeting at the dike on July 24, Myers said he determined the city of Parsons owns the dike, which was purchased from the former private owner, Foster Mullenax. He said in the last few days city crews have removed vegetation from the top of the dike to help prevent any further damages.

Myers said fixing the dike will be a community project, and the next step is for the damage to be evaluated. There has not yet been any evaluation or estimate of the damage.

“We will seek funding for repairs from state agencies, and possibly federal sources,” Myers said. “We may have to put some money into the project and hopefully the county, depending on how much money they have.

“It will be a conglomeration of many pots of money.”

Officials discovered a hole in the dike during the July 4 weekend, and county, state and federal agencies are now working together to ensure the damage is repaired and residents are safe.

The dike, which was rebuilt in 1986 following the historic 1985 flood, is a diversion dike, which according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers information means it does not provide flood protection, but rather has a potential to limit flood damages.

The dike is designed to deflect the flow of high velocity flood water back into the stream channel as opposed to letting it run through the heart of the city.

“This (dike) is very crucial to Parsons,” said Councilman Lowell Moore. “This is one of the major points of our protection.”