The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, awarded an $183,000 construction contract to repair the damages to the Pierce – North Branch Elkhorn River Right Bank levee system Wednesday.The Pierce levee system, damaged by the 2019 spring flooding, is approximately 2.5 miles long, running along the northern and western boundary of the City of Pierce, Nebraska.According to USACE, this system provides an increased level of flood risk management for over 550 structures and approximately 1,100 people.“This is the first of full rehabilitation projects to begin addressing damages to the smaller tributary systems throughout the Omaha District Area of Responsibility that were damaged during the 2019 spring flooding,” said Jeff Bohlken, Program Manager for the Omaha District Systems Restoration Team. “However, we are anticipating that we will have 5-10 more of the tributary projects ready for award within the next two months to continue these repair efforts.”The contract was awarded to Niewohner Construction of Onawa, Iowa, and the period of performance for the contact is 60 calendar days.The repairs will restore the levee system to its pre-flood condition.
The biggest difference between the two programs is the subsidized funding for memberships. In a statement to The Two River Times the following morning Rummage said the district has enjoyed a “long and strong partnership” with the YMCA he expects will continue. In a statement issued to The Two River Times July 2, The Community YMCA said its goal “is to ensure a smooth transition and retain 100% of families who are currently members of the Healthy Kids program, regardless of the ability to pay. We will also continue complimentary membership for active Red Bank Volunteer Firefighters and offer a special rate of 20% off of adult memberships for Red Bank Borough Police Officers.” The Two River Times interpreted the statement to mean children will continue to be included in the courtesy membership program, along with considerations for first responders. But that was not what the organization meant, said Teicia Gaupp, the organization’s director of marketing and social media. The complimentary membership program for children will finish by the end of summer, she said. Menna believes theCommunity YMCA haslost the confidence of thefamilies they hope to keep. “Frankly, their policy to have school age kids fill out complicated forms asking for personal information is not going to have too many takers in the age of ICE raids,” Menna said. Red Bank Borough Schools superintendent Jared Rumage scheduled a meeting with school leadership for the evening of July 9 to examine the situation further. “We are working with (YMCA) representatives to discuss this evolving situation,” he added. “We have been in touch with families in the program and those outside of it who also need support. We’re not turning anyone away. The mission is to help everybody who needs it,” Gaupp said July 3. According to Gaupp, in 2018 the Community YMCA provided $900,000 in financial assistance and program subsidies to approximately 3,000 children and families. Some of the benefits for children and families living in Red Bank over the past year alone include $50,000 in YCares program subsidies, $44,450 in Healthy Kids memberships, $9,350 for third-grade swim programming and $13,000 in summer camp scholarships. According to Gaupp, the programming and access currently offered to those students with complimentary memberships will not change once the transition is made. “It will remain a full child membership,” she said. Those who wish to participate in the YCares Financial Assistance program will need to fill out an application; financial assistance toward a membership may be provided based on need. Previously, any student attending a Red Bank public school through eighth grade automatically received a free membership upon request. The Y’s statement continued: “We are currently working with our community partners and the Red Bank school district to outreach and ensure a continuum of access with the deepest impact. We acknowledge the public concern over these changes, thank those who have provided feedback, and value being part of an incredibly caring community.” Gaupp said new YMCA members interested in the YCares Financial Assistance program will be subject to the application process, but the families of current child membership holders can work directly with Community YMCA executive director Katie McAdoo on the transition. In a July 8 interview Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said the borough council has “not committed to acknowledging (the YMCA’s) statement,” but added the governing body is “100 percent engaged in resisting the action.” “Whether they like it or not, all Red Bank residents subsidize the YMCA, which is becoming a private health club. (The YMCA) made commitments and promises. They need to understand the disproportionate impact this amended policy would have on Red Bank children,” Menna said. RED BANK – The Two River Times incorrectly reported in last week’s edition that The Community YMCA would not be ending their complimentary child membership program for borough students. In fact, the program will be terminated for nearly 220 youths effective Sept. 1 as the nonprofit transitions to its new YCares Financial Assistance initiative. The decision to transition to its new subsidies program comes after the Community YMCA announced a merger in April with the YMCA of Western Monmouth County, which expands total service members to 36,000, and staff to 1,200-plus employees and approximately 650 volunteers. The annual operating budget is $25 million. Those interested in applying for subsidies through the YCares financial assistance program can call 732-741-2504 or email [email protected]