2/12/2013 6:49 PM
by Karen Franklin
MATOAKA - More than 60 years after a Matoaka creek was drudged, city officials have plans to remove sediment from it again.
"That should make the water move through our town more quickly, help the people above us and fix lowland areas at the end of the creek," Mayor Todd Colonna told WOAY.
The project, which will clear 1.25 miles of the creek, is being paid for by an $80,000 grant from the Hugh I. Shott Jr. Foundation, something the mayor is thankful for.
"We keep our head above water and do it so getting help from a Shott foundation for something this large is the only way it's ever going to happen," Colonna said.
Officials said they have worked on renovating the town over the last four years. They said the sediment removal will help flooding problems and bring more people to the area.
"We really need to build this town up, and I think it's going to help out a whole lot," Ann Bowden told WOAY.
Charles Blankenship, another business owner, agreed with the need for progress in Matoaka.
"I'm 87 years old and still plugging and haven't given up on this town, and I still have that feeling that it's going to come back," he said.
Officials hope work will begin early next week, with equipment coming in as soon as Wednesday. They're waiting on a final permit approval shortly.
"Anything we can do to help facilitate in keeping our homes in town, our businesses in town, and prosper, is what we're trying to accomplish," Colonna said.
"I wish people would come see what we have to offer," Blankenship said. "A lot of friendly people in Matoaka. Some of the best, most honest people you have ever talked to are right here in Matoaka."
The mayor told WOAY more that about 20 families moved into the town of 300 within the last year. He said more businesses will be added by spring.