Local News

Jan 26, 2010 11:55 PM by Ariel Wesler

City leaders want Congress to extend Santa Maria levee

The city of Guadalupe is fighting to have the Santa Maria levee extended down-river to protect the community.

City leaders say structures located along the levee are in danger of flooding because of erosion. They say the city of Santa Maria supports the idea. The request then goes to congress in the hopes of getting some federal funding.

Guadalupe's mayor says he city has wanted this extension for the past three years. Now, that the army corps of engineers is strenghthening the Santa Maria levee, he's hoping extension is also possible.

Going the extra mile. . .that's about how far the city of Guadalupe wants to extend the Santa Maria levee.

Alma Wilson works for the Guadalupe Union School District. Her building is in the river's flood path.

"It does concern me. We're always you know, keeping an eye out, making sure everything looks safe," Wilson said.

The Boys and Girls Club as well as the the city's sewer plant are adjacent to the river. City leaders say little by little the river is eroding the land. It flooded the area in the early 90s with about two to three feet of water.

"The safety of the kids at the Boys and Girls Club and the safety of the city with the sewer plant are paramount. . .so it's better to be proactive than reactive," said Guadalupe Mayor Lupe Alvarez

A 40 million dollar project is already underway in Santa Maria to strengthen nearly seven miles of levy and the project came in under budget.

"At least 16 million dollars on the first project, they should use that money to extend our levy. We're down river, so anything that happens up river is going to affect Guadalupe," Alvarez said.

The city also hopes a levee would also encourage more development and recreation--adding the potential for hiking and biking trails along the river.

Guadalupe is getting a letter of support from santa maria city leaders for the extension.

That letter is being sent to Congresswoman Lois Capps in the hope it will help her get some federal money to help with the project.


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