Havre de Grace sums up storm costs

Havre de Grace spent $28,409 on Hurricane Irene and $12,814 on Tropical Storm Lee, public works director Larry Parks reported at Monday night's city council meeting.

He said the city removed 46 truckloads of debris from the hurricane and 18 from the tropical storm.

The flood damaged the decking at Jean Roberts Park and the ramp and fishing pier at Hutchins Park, both of which will be repaired in the coming weeks, he said.

A more complicated problem, he said, is at the approach channel to the marina at the City Yacht Basin, which has been silted in with debris that reaches from 2 to 4 feet at high tide.

The city released a message on its website earlier today saying officials are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to determine the full extent of the problem, as well as with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to do emergency dredging.

"Right now our marina manager, Mr. [Steven] Young, is working diligently with MDE and other organizations regarding exactly how the problem will be dealt [with], how serious it is, and hopefully we'll be able to find funding and proceed immediately with plans," Mayor Wayne Dougherty said. "It's not as easy putting a plow in the water and just plowing stuff away. It's a little more involved with that, with the environment."

Dougherty said he is "totally impressed" by the manager's response and a full engineering report is expected by Wednesday.

"I assure all users of the marina, of the ramp, that it's being worked on as expeditiously as possible," he said.

Dougherty also thanked a long list of people who helped the city make it through the flood caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.

"A lot behind the scene goes on where the line folks are out there doing the grunt work," Dougherty said.

He thanked city employees, the Susquehanna Hose Company, Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps, Vulcan Materials, state Sen. Nancy Jacobs, state Sen. Barry Glassman, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the Harford County Emergency Operations Center, BGE employees, Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett and County Executive David Craig.

About Craig, Dougherty said, "I couldn't ask for anything more. I and him were constantly on the phone communicating."

He said the Maryland National Guard again did not hesitate, and Gov. Martin O'Malley also made a couple of phone calls to him.

"I really was impressed with that, his offer of assistance," Dougherty said about O'Malley.

Chaplain Nick McDonald of Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, who led the opening prayer, recalled the recent flood and gave thanks for the "safe and timely" evacuation of city residents who were in harm's way.

The mayor recognized six employees of Vulcan Materials for donating 250 tons of rip-rap to David Craig Park and some rock for the lighthouse area, as well as occasionally stepping up to do some other things.

Dougherty said as recently as the floods and Hurricane Irene, John Smack, of Vulcan, was one of the first people to call and ask if there was anything the city needed.

He told Smack his company has saved the city thousands of dollars with its donations.

"This is an honor, and I know a personal friendship has developed between us," Dougherty said. "I know I have already missed 100 things you folks have done for us, and I appreciate that."

Council president Bill Martin said it is one thing to have an idea and another to actually carry it to fruition.

"The generous donation you gave us definitely gave us a huge step in the right direction," he said.

Smack thanked Dougherty, and said: "Our desire to be part of the community is sincere. We get a lot out of it, intrinsically, as all these guys like being with the kids and show we enjoy being responsible corporate citizens."

Also at the meeting, Dougherty said the city entered into an agreement with Johnson Controls to do an audit of the entire city at no cost.

"I'm quite impressed, and there was a lot of emphasis placed on 'green' and a lot of things we had already talked about," he said about the project.

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