We’re seeing how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) creates jobs right here in Kentucky. The Fox Creek flood control dam in Kentucky, is a great example.
The Recovery Act was created by the Obama Administration to boost the nation’s economy, in part by developing and improving infrastructure like flood controls. (Floodplains and other wetlands are natural flood controls; dams are man-made flood controls.)
The Fox Creek dam was originally built in 1968 to protect downstream cropland and provide water recreation opportunities. But as the area downstream began to develop more—the dam now provides flood protection to 16 homes, two state roads, one church and one historic covered bridge—the structure was upgraded to a higher risk level, making it non-compliant with federal and state safety laws.
$4.1 million in Recovery Act funds was allocated to upgrade the structure to protect human life, prevent economic loss and minimize environmental impact. Improvements were completed earlier this year.
The workers needed for the project were hired locally. One way this was accomplished was through the initiative of the owner/operators of one of the major subcontractors for the project, who called Fleming County officials to inquire about the best way to hire local workers. This approach resulted in 27 local hires during construction.
Just as significantly, over 90 percent of the total project funds went to material and labor from Kentucky. For example, over 28,000 tons of the rock needed was quarried locally. The demand was actually so great that at times the quarry could not keep up.
In addition, a concrete batch plant was set up on site to produce the mixture of concrete used in the dam, and all of the fly ash (a component of concrete) was procured from a state vendor.
The Fox Creek project not only resulted in 27 local jobs, but also saved the jobs of local recreational business that support the 15,000 residents of Fleming County. That’s because the Fox Creek structure holds back water that creates Fox Valley Lake. The lake is a recreational spot for fishing and boating, and the surrounding area is a popular location for hikers and campers.
The dam is now safer and more efficient in heavy rainfall events so the community can continue to enjoy the outdoor activities that help support their local economy.
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