What Does the St. Louis Corps of Engineers Say to $250 Million Stimulus Check?

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Dam.

As in "now we can finally finish that locks and dam renovation up there in Granite City."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers here in St. Louis recently received nearly $250 million -- part of the $4.6 billion the Corps was appropriated under the Recovery Act.

Corps spokesman Alan Dooley tells me that that the St. Louis unit plans to use the stimulus money to fund existing projects, including the renovation of Locks 27 and the Chain of Rocks Dam -- the entry and exit point for the upper Mississippi River -- that was built in 1953 and in much need of repair.

Money will also go to other "shovel-ready" projects such as improving the flood walls and levies in Wood River and East St. Louis, Illinois, as well as environmental projects to restore wet lands.

It won't go to building a new lock and dam south of St. Louis that would pool the Mississippi River allowing for a downtown marina and other recreation features on the St. Louis riverfront. (Locks and dams north of St. Louis allow for other communities to more easily boat and recreate on the river.)

In fact, Dooley almost laughed when I asked him if we'd ever have a dam south of St. Louis.

"That's would cost a heck of a lot more than $250 million," Dooley informs. "It would be billions."

Okee dokee.

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