WASHINGTON, D.C.—Standing with Ohioans in Tuscarawas County and beyond in calling for the Village of Zoar to be preserved, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that he will introduce legislation to protect the Village of Zoar as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) studies ways to manage the town’s aging levee. Brown’s bill would require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to preserve the historic integrity of Zoar in any study or construction activities related to the village’s levee.
“The Zoar levee was built to help one of Ohio’s historic communities thrive along the Tuscarawas River, but this aging structure is in urgent need of repair or replacement. In my visits to Tuscarawas County, I have heard from dozens of Ohioans who want the Village of Zoar to be preserved. This legislation ensures that Zoar is protected by requiring the U.S. Army of Corps to preserve its historic integrity—either while studying the levee, or while rebuilding it,” Brown said. “There is widespread, bipartisan support for protecting Zoar, and I am committed to ensuring that this extraordinary village remains intact.”
The Village of Zoar was founded in 1817 by a group of separatists who fled Germany in search of religious freedom. In June 2012, the Village of Zoar was newly listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of “most endangered historic places.” According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the historic Village of Zoar, home to nearly 200 residents, is protected from flooding by a levee built in the 1930s. Record floods in 2005, however, raised concern about the levee’s integrity. Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started a three-year study to assess the levee’s future. One of many alternatives under consideration is removing it entirely, which could require the relocation or demolition of 80 percent of the historic village. Brown’s bill would prevent this by requiring the Army Corps to find a solution that maintains the historic integrity of the village.