By Kay S. PedrottiLamar County stands to receive full reimbursement from a federal grant for contractor costs after clearing nine stream sites judged to be threats to public safety following last year’s tornado.Commissioner Charles Glass, county coordinator for tornado projects, said Tree Toppers of Americus used unique methods to finish the job under its initial bid of about $31,000. Actual contractor costs were $28,725, Glass said, and Lamar’s 15% share was $5,382 in time, equipment and personnel. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service grant was approved at $82,394.Glass noted that in places where fallen trees were unreachable by heavy equipment, Tree Toppers used a bucket truck to rig a block-and-tackle line on a stable tree at the stream bank, then had workers with chainsaws in or near the stream cut and secure tree pieces to be hauled up. He said it was ‘amazing to watch.’ Tree Toppers also won the bid for the ‘leaners, hangers and stumps’ removal after the storm. Sites cleared included two on Turner Bridge Road crossing Potato Creek; Towaliga Creek at Highway 41; Pepper Creek on Crawford Road; Towaliga Creek on Brook Road; Little Towaliga Creek on Ennis Road and Crawford Road; and Potato Creek Tributary on Turner Bridge Road. These were sites determined as public safety threats because a heavy rain could cause the downed trees to break up bridges or culverts, said Glass.’The property owners with streams on or near their properties have spent countless hours and dollars on cleaning up the streams. I wish there was more we could do to help them but we haven’t found any other possibilities with public funds,’ Glass said.
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