Since the flood of 2010, a unique local partnership has been building to protect northeast Nebraska from future flood events.
At their January meeting, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) board voted 12 to 1 to approve the Interlocal Agreement to move forward with the bank stabilization project that will protect the railroad and Highway 81 from future flood events on the Elkhorn River. The flooding in 2010 caused significant damage, including the collapse of a railroad bridge, which negatively impacted area businesses and industry. A railroad employee was killed when the bridge collapsed into the river.
The bank stabilization project brings together public and private partners, including: the Madison County Railroad Transportation Safety District, Nebraska Central Railroad, Nucor, Vulcraft, Elkhorn Valley Ethanol, Norfolk Iron & Metal, and the LENRD.
Norfolk City Administrator, Shane Weidner, said, “I’m thankful to the LENRD board and all the partners. This has truly been a team effort from our industrial partners, our major industries, the Railroad Transportation Safety District and the LENRD.”
LENRD General Manager, Mike Sousek, said, “This has been a great collaborative effort between Madison County, the City of Norfolk, the industries, and the LENRD. I’m happy the board moved forward with this. It’s going to provide great protection for all of us in Northeast Nebraska. I’m looking forward to getting the contract in place and getting the project built.”
The project has seen a decrease in cost from $2.4 million to the current estimate of $750,000. The LENRD will share $250,000 of the cost as a partner in this project.
In other action, the board elected new officers for 2017.
The board elected Dennis Schultz of Wisner as their new chairman. Mike Krueger of Pierce was voted in as vice-chairman, Mark Hall of Norfolk as secretary, and Bob Huntley of Norfolk as Treasurer. Other positions filled were Kurt Janke of Wayne as the voting delegate of the Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, and Gary Loftis of Craig as the alternate NARD delegate.
Sousek, said, “I’m looking forward to working with the new officers. This gives them a chance to demonstrate their leadership skills as we work through various issues and challenges together.”
The next board meeting will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:30 p.m.