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New Franklin reviewing stormwater solutions

7/25/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

NEW FRANKLIN — City officials in New Franklin are focusing on solutions to stormwater issues to resolve a number of problem areas that arose once again during the July 10 storm.

Mayor Al Bollas stated at the July 17 New Franklin Council meeting that recent rains have resulted in flash flooding in a number of areas around the city. He identified three major “outfalls”: an area behind Manchester High School; the Weaver farm area; and around City Hall, including the Woodward and Sherwood Forest neighborhoods.

Several residents attended the meeting to relate how the storm flooded their yards and homes.

Bollas stated the flooding problems are causing not only property damage, but also property disputes, and he said the city has limited resources to remedy the problems.

“We are continuing to work on drainage controls,” said Bollas. “There are still many problem areas, and our best bet is to build more retention/detention basins. We will need to acquire more property or get drainage easements to do this.”

One solution was the subject of legislation at the meeting. Council approved a resolution awarding a bid of $232,485 to Cavanaugh Building for the New Franklin Stormwater Demonstration Project.

The project, to be set up on property purchased along Center Road in front of City Hall, will include green space and a wetland, a walking trail that may one day hook up to one in Miracle Field (located east of City Hall) and an additional 31 parking spots on a porous lot, according to Bollas.

The city received an $186,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in April 2012 for the stormwater project, which required $50,000 in matching funds. Those funds were spent on engineering for the project, according to Bollas. City officials hope to complete the project by the end of the year.

Bollas stated this project would help to alleviate the amount of water flowing south toward the Catalina ditch and neighborhoods in between.

“We can’t stop the water, but we can divert it,” he said. “These projects work best the further upstream they are.”

Council met in executive session after the meeting to discuss possible land acquisition and easements for stormwater management, as well as labor negotiations with the police department. Bollas reported no action was taken after the meeting, but he is studying several sites.

In other business, Council approved:

  • accepting a Fiscal Year 2012 Assistance to Firefighters grant of $90,056, with a 15 percent match required from the city ($4,739), to be used to purchase educational fire prevention materials, both printed and video, for students and senior citizens, as well as 1,500 smoke detectors;
  • modifying the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund contribution rates, paying 2 percent to eligible members’ pensions, retroactive to July 7, as per the International Association of Firefighters Local 2885 bargaining agreement;
  • selling a 2008 Lincoln Navigator confiscated through drug activity at the Akron Auto Auction, with the proceeds to go to the police department; and
  • supporting Summit County’s Kids Month in August, which will include a variety of activities. For more details, visit www.summitcountyfirst thingsfirst.com.

Ordinances to amend Zoning Code Section 600.03, addressing nuisance properties, and 800.01, regarding the placement of accessory buildings, were placed on time pending a public hearing set for Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road.

Officials also announced at the meeting the city has received a $32,332 rebate check from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. Also, residents are invited to visit the Akron Zoo for free Sept. 1-5 during Community Days. Tickets are available at City Hall or the zoo.

Copies of the taped Council meetings are available at City Hall for free.

The next Council meeting will take place Aug. 7 beginning at 6 p.m. with committee meetings and continuing with the regular meeting at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road.

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