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Middlesboro flood control system needs upgrade

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

Flash flooding is no stranger to Eastern Kentucky, especially those living in Middlesboro. The area has an extensive canal system, but city leaders have determined that it is not working the way it's supposed to.

When it rains in Middlesboro, the water has to go somewhere.

"Some of our flash flooding, some of our peaks of water during the last rains have been from the fact that we're not getting the water out of here quick enough now," said Bill Kelley, Middlesboro Mayor.

That's because one major part of the canal is clogged. You can't even see the water because of the excess brush and trees.

"Over time the water has slowed getting out of here because of the debris in the canal," said Tim Gent, with the Middlesboro Sewer/Road Department.

The Army Corps of Engineers has sent letters to the city saying the flood control program is "minimally acceptable."

Middlesboro Mayor Bill Kelley said they are trying to improve that rating.

Crews have spent the last couple of months cleaning out one canal that funnels water out of downtown Middlesboro.

The mayor said the canal has not been cleaned out in years and because of that, the city could lose federal support for the system.

"The impact on the city of Middlesboro could be great," said Kelley.

The mayor said they have spoken with officials at the state level and Congressman Hal Rogers's office about funding to clean out the canal.

It's a project that won't come cheap. He expects it to cost about a half million dollars. The city is still looking for ways to fund the project.


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