County Program offered at relief meeting, 3-24-1936
Five-Point County Program Offered At Relief Meeting
Calls for Bond Issue, Federal and State Aid and Sanitation
FLOOD CONTROL IS AMONG PROPOSALS
State Group Will Study Program and Submit Recommendations
Support of five specific flood relief or rehabilitation programs was asked by county officials, in conference with the state-wide committee appointed Sunday by Governor Harry W. Nice. to study flood damage in Maryland and recommend legislation to be presented in the Maryland Assembly.
Adjutant-General Milton A. Reckord, chairman of the governor's committee, announced that the programs, either in whole or in part, which the committee decides to approve, will be presented tomorrow to the legislature and probably will form the basic program for flood recovery in Allegany county and other water-ravaged areas in Maryland.
The group, meeting at the court house, reviewed the five plans for relief and rehabilitation which have been drawn up since flood waters by areas last Tuesday and Wednesday. The five plans, summarized, are:
1. A bill approved by the Allegany County Commissioners to seek legislative authority for $500,000 bond issue for emergency relief.
2l A request for federal or state funds to repair roads and bridges damaged or destroyed by the floodwaters.
3. Arrangements to give the American Red Cross complete supervision of emergency relief work and the care of flood sufferers.
4. A plan to have the Red Cross and Works Progress Administration cooperate in sanitation projects in rural areas affected by the floods.
5. Tentative plans to prevent future floods in Cumberland and adjacent territory, through dredging, erection of retaining walls and changing the course of streams passing through Cumberland.
Commissioner Nelson W. Russler, speaking on behalf of Allegany county in the absence of A. Charles Stewart, who is Annapolis, first asked General Reckord for the committee's support of the bill now in the legislature designed to authorize Allegany county to borrow up to $500,000 for emergency flood relief.
General Reckord said that he understood this was one of the main points that is being pressed by county authorities and that the committee will include an opinion on this, in its report tomorrow.
$60,000 Asked for Roads
Commissioner James Holmes, of Lonaconing, then asked the committee's approval of a road repair program that would relieve the county of the cost of improving a number of county roads that have been damaged by the flood waters. Holmes cited that roads in the George's Creek section were particularly bad, with one stretch of about two miles in which five bridges had been demolished.
Nathan L. Smith, chief engineer of the State Roads Commission, a member of the committee, referred Holmes to Douglas Le Fevre, assistant district roads engineer, who said that from a partial survey he had made since the flood, the estimated cost of repairs would be approximately $37,000. Russler and Holmes both said this amount "would not touch the work to be done," and said that it would take nearer $60,000.
Russler and Holmes both asked the committee to favor Federal or state funds for road and bridge repair and Reckord said he would take $50,000 as the approximate amount needed for this work.
Smith said $150,000 probably will cover the cost of repairs and strengthening of state roads, while another $150,000 will be needed to cover repairs to the county roads
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5-POINT FLOOD PLAN SUBMITTED
Rehabilitation Program is Submitted to State Group at Conference Here
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and bridges destroyed throughout the state.
Relief Work Satisfactory
Reckord then asked for the county officials' opinion on the direct emergency relief situation, and Russler replied, "We are definitely in favor of letting the Red Cross handle the present situation entirely. We believe their organization is better equipped to meet the relief needs of the county at this time and we want the situation placed in their hands." Mrs. Margaret Lewis, field representative of the Red Cross in Maryland, a member of the state committee, agreed to this arrangement.
Dr. Joseph P. Franklin, city and county health officer, brought up the question of sanitation rehabilitation in outlying districts of the 'county where outhouses have been washed away and must be rebuilt. Mrs. Lewis said that the same thing might be done here as had been done after Federalsburg, Md., flood last year when the Red Cross supplied material and the WPA provided labor. Dr. Robert H. Riley, director of the Maryland State Department of Health, and a committee member said the WPA had several sanitary privy projects and that help might be expected from the Federal government along this line.
Discuss Flood Prevention
The fifth and last program for Allegany county, a flood prevention plan for which the support of the committee was asked, was not completely discussed at the meeting yesterday, but some recommendation probably will be included in the committee report tomorrow, according to General Reckord.
Following Russler's request of support for the Savage river dam as a flood preventative measure, George L. Hall, acting chief engineer of the state department of health, stated that this project was originally designed as a stream regulation plan and would have little effect on flood waters in Cumberland.
He said that it would greatly aid water-using industries in this territory and would keep up the flow of the Potomac River during the dry season so that it maintained a steady flow and carried away the sewage dumped in it by the city. "However," he added, "the watershed above the proposed site of the dam is only about 100 square miles, while the Potomac total watershed at Cumberland is approximately 700 square miles. From this you may see that the dam would have very little effect on flood waters in Cumberland."
Forecasts Action by Congress
Hall also stated that he had been informed that the Savage dam project will be included in the next budget submitted to Congress and that the Potomac River Valley of about 15,000 square miles would be used as a demonstration unit to show the correct treatment of stream problems.
Hall also discussed the J. H. Kimball plan, for flood prevention that was compiled in 1924 after the Cumberland flood early that year. This provided for retaining walls along Will's Creek and the Potomac River and the dredging of a new course for the river through Ridgeley, W. Va., thus eliminating the sharp river curse where Will's Creek joins the river in the city.
Reckord said he would like to study the Kimball plan before making any report to the Maryland Legislature on the problem, and arranged to confer with Hall last evening in Hagerstown, where the committee met last night with the Washington County commissioners to discuss their problems.
The statewide committee members, all of whom were present at yesterday's meeting, are: General Reckord, Mrs. Lewis, Smith, Riley and Samuel E. Shannahan, chairman of the Board of State Aid and Charities.
County officials present were: Commissioners Russler and Holmes, Dr. Franklin, County Clerk Thomas P. Richards, State's Attorney William A. Huster, Hall and Le Fevre.
Cumberland Daily News
Floods, Maryland, Cumberland, History; Cumberland (Md.),History.
Western Maryland, 1936