Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

February 11, 2014

State denies grant again to fix Stafford Drive flood issues

Princeton officials seek other funding options, studies

PRINCETON — The city of Princeton has once again been denied state grant funding to correct chronic flooding woes along Stafford Drive.

When heavy rain arrives over Mercer County, parts of Stafford Drive are soon underwater, forcing residents, businesses and motorists to take action. Princeton city officials are continuing to seek remedies after a new application for state funding was denied.

The city recently learned that it had been turned down again for a state Small Cities Block Grant, said Mayor Patricia Wilson. The city has previously applied for funding to address Stafford Drive’s flooding problem, only to see the applications turned down. Previous applications were for $500,000.

“It was close to $400,000” Wilson said of the amount the city requested this year. “It wasn’t $500,000. We applied for what we thought it was going to take, but we were turned down once again.”

Wilson said she planned to meet with City Manager Elke Doom and Dean Upton, administrator of the Princeton Sanitary Board, on Feb. 17 to discuss the city’s next move toward resolving the flooding issue. Part of the flooding problem is centered on Brush Creek, the stream running along Stafford Drive.

“We had thought that maybe the NRCF, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, was going to do a study of Brush Creek, and we learned last week that they’re not going to do one,” Wilson said.

In July 2013, the city council listened to several proposals from engineering firms interested in doing a study of Stafford Drive’s problem, Wilson said. Now that the NRCF will not be inspecting the situation, the idea of contracting with engineers will be considered.

“So now we will, in all probability, rate those engineering firms, and have them do a study for us,” she said.

A study would help determine whether the city is responsible for addressing the flood problem or if the state is responsible, and what can be done to resolve it, Wilson said.

The Hugh I. Shott Foundation has provided the city $250,000 to start a study.

“We’re very appreciative of that support. Now we just have to move forward with it and see what we can do,” she said.

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