Submitted by Hinds County District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham
“Jackson has many challenges, but we have an opportunity now to overcome one of those long-standing issues and get this project built,” Hinds Co. Supervisor Robert Graham writes.
Jackson has faced many challenges in the past few weeks. These are on top of many other challenges over the past few years. Some of these issues are so large that it seems like there is no way to address them. Thankfully, flooding is not one of those challenges.
Our Capitol Region has experienced serious flooding from the Pearl River over the years. Many people remember the 1979 Easter flood that swamped downtown Jackson, Flowood, and covered I-55. That was followed a few years later in 1983 by another major flood. We experienced the 3rd worst flood in history in 2020 and another one just two months ago.
These floods have devastating effects on our friends, family, and neighborhoods. They add costly burdens on people who are already struggling with inflation and economic hardship. And this burden falls especially hard on our minority neighborhoods in Jackson.
However, as we saw this week, there is help on the way. For years, your area leaders have been working on a flood control solution for the Pearl River. In the past it has been known as the One Lake project, but the project is not a lake but a widen river that will keep the flood waters from entering neighborhoods and homes when the next rain event strikes. Models show that 92% of the homes impacted by the 2020 flood would have benefitted from this project. It’s a project that will re-connect our Capitol region to its river and open up new opportunities for our community.
After years of working behind the scenes with the Army Corps of Engineers to refine the project and get it through the approval process, we received the great news that the federal government is going to inject $221 million into this project. We are finally one step closer to providing protection for Jackson and surrounding areas.
This would not have been possible without years of work by our Congressional delegation. Their leadership has kept the pressure on the Corps to work with us to find a solution, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Congress passed has now made the funding available.
This past August, I stood on North Canton Club Drive in Jackson and promised the residents there that were looking at their neighborhood underwater that we had a solution to this problem. There is still more work to do to get the final plans approved by the Corps, but I believe that we finally have that solution within reach.
Jackson has many challenges, but we have an opportunity now to overcome one of those long-standing issues and get this project built. As we have seen in the past two years, Jackson’s most disadvantaged populations are vulnerable to serious Pearl River flooding. It is time to approve the project and begin construction so that our people can finally have the protection they deserve.
Submitted by Robert Graham. He is the District 1 Supervisor in Hinds County.