Citizens’ group to meet to begin push for flood prevention work

Saving Manville Against Recurring Tragedy

hopes to spur action by federal government
By:Roger Alvarado
   A group of Manville residents, who want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move up its timetable for installing flood walls along the Raritan and Millstone rivers, is set to holds its first meeting next week to discuss ways to speed up the flood prevention project.
   Boesel Avenue resident Tara Andrews and several neighbors started SMART (Saving Manville Against Recurring Tragedy) in December in an effort to pressure local and state officials to begin the actual process of building flood walls in the borough quicker. The group’s first meeting will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 28 in Borough Hall and is open to the public.
   According to Ms. Andrews, the meeting will feature an information session to give people insight as to what is going on.
   "The more people we can get to be there the better," Ms. Andrews said.
   A feasibility study designed in part to look into flood damage reduction in Manville is being undertaken by the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
   Hurricane Floyd devastated Manville in September 1999 and caused $100 million in damage.
   "Nobody wants to see another Floyd," Ms. Andrews said.
   The $6.8 million study of the entire Millstone River Basin includes the Millstone River and its major tributaries and encompasses parts of five counties: Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Hunterdon and Somerset. It should take four to five years to complete, said John O’Connor of the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in December.
   It began in 2002 and is being funded by state sponsors and federal funding.
   Mayor Angelo Corradino, who will be in attendance Feb. 28, says he sees the value in such an organization and urges people to come out.
   "I appreciate the effort the individuals who organized SMART have done and I support them 100 percent," he said. "It is critical that we have a flood mitigation plan in place and implemented as soon as possible.
   "We cannot wait 30 years like Bound Brook did for their plan to come to fruition," he said. "It took us four years to partially recover from Hurricane Floyd. We have to do whatever is in our power to ensure that we take every precaution to avoid another catastrophe such as Floyd."