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Businesses provide input in Corps planning of levee

By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
At a town meeting in Brewton on July 20, the Army Corps of Engineers estimated the value of non-residential property inside a proposed levee-protected area at $130 million.
Making up a large part of that estimated value are three businesses recognized as vital to the economy of this area -- Brewton Iron Works, Citation and T.R. Miller Mill.
Johnston said that the 1998 flood left Citation with 30 inches of water and millions of dollars in losses due to damaged equipment and downtime.
Businesses like Citation and Brewton Iron Works are concerned about the effect repeated claims will have on their insurance coverage through the Federal Flood Program.
To aid the Corps in its research, Brewton Iron Works provided past claims of damages from flooding and information on the company's assets. According to Wilson, each past flood has meant a loss of $750,000 to $1 million for the company.
Brewton Iron Works and its 53 employees generate about $4 million in sales each year.
T.R. Miller Mill Company, in place since 1872, has experienced every major flood in the last century right along with the City of Brewton.
Vice president David Castleberry said that the only flood precaution it can take is to build any new structures above the flood level. T.R. Miller Mill has also worked with the Corps in its progress toward building a levee around Brewton.
If everything goes according to plan, the Corps estimates it will complete a feasibility study report in late 2005. This means that the levee project could be approved by Congress in 2006, designed and engineered in 2007, and construction could be initiated in 2008. Based on similar projects, engineers think the levee could take two years to construct.