November 21, 2014

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Corps of Engineers says Lorain Harbor sustained $1.44M in damages from superstorm Sandy

LORAIN — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, is asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to commit money to repair the Lorain Harbor after it was ravaged by superstorm Sandy in October.

The Corps of Engineers estimated that the harbor amassed $1.44 million in damages from the storm, which caused

$17.7 million in damages to Great Lakes harbors.

On Thursday, Brown and the Senate sent a letter to Jo-Ellen Darcy, assistant secretary of the Army, asking that the Corps of Engineers direct funding from the Hurricane Sandy Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to repair the damaged harbors.

The funding would come from $50.5 billion in supplemental appropriations to aid victims and strengthen areas affected by the storm. According to a news release from Brown’s office, the Senate Committee on Appropriations assured that Great Lakes federal navigation projects would be eligible for some of the funding.

“Lorain Harbor holds both commercial and recreational significance to Northeastern Ohio and must be protected,” said a statement from Brown. “I will continue to fight to ensure that Lorain Harbor receives the relief funding it needs to maintain the jobs, income and importance it provides the region.”

Rick Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority, said funding would help fix what hasn’t been repaired.

Novak said there is a “good size” breach in the breakwall that leads to the lighthouse that could potentially lead to a change in water flow patterns if it is not fixed. There is also damage to an interior berm, he said.

Novak added that there hasn’t been a comprehensive look at all the repairs needed yet.

“Once you get in there, there may be more damage than you know,” he said.

Novak said the Lorain Harbor is important to the city, both commercially and recreationally.

Terminal Ready-Mix Inc. and Standard LaFarge frequently use the harbor, which Novak said lowers the cost of road projects because the stone and materials come through the area. Novak said the harbor also provides residents with a number of jobs.

Novak recalled the strength of superstorm Sandy, which ripped decorative brick work off the Mile Long Pier.

“I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” he said. “The strength of the wind and those waves, it’s really amazing.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.