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Trustees hear opinion on flooding mitigation

10/17/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

COVENTRY — When it comes to flooding in the Penguin Avenue/Glenmount Avenue area of Coventry, the Coventry Board of Trustees is determined to not wash their hands of the matter.

The board invited a subject matter expert, Jim Rozelle, of Storm Water Engineering in Dayton, to the Oct. 10 meeting to provide recommendations for flooding mitigation in the Brewster Creek Watershed.

Board Chairman David Calderone explained it is not the township’s responsibility to solve the flooding issue, but the board wants to take an active role in finding the solution.

He explained the Penguin Condominiums, in particular, have been hit by flooding multiple times over the years, and the owners are unable to sell their units at this time.

“This is a concern of ours,” Calderone said.

It is not easy seeing the property loss township citizens are enduring, he added.

Calderone explained a formal plan to mitigate the flooding must be determined before the township can seek financial assistance from federal and state entities.

He was quick to point out the township would not be able to financially accomplish a plan but would help get other parties involved to fund the solution.

Rozelle spent about an hour, free of charge, sharing a PowerPoint presentation with the board.

He said most of the flooding is an overflow coming from about 2.65 miles of the 6 miles of Brewster Creek, which primarily lies in the city of Akron.

“This is the most difficult watershed area I have ever seen,” Rozelle said.

He said township locations could be considered for detention but, through his observation, there are not many areas in which this would be possible.

Rozelle explained a high volume of water runoff currently is directed into Brewster Creek, which often causes a backup.

He said the township may be able to seek a grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take down the Penguin Condominiums and relocate willing sellers.

The township could use the grant money to purchase the properties repeatedly damaged by flooding, he explained.

Rozelle said Coventry would need to obtain at least a $2 million grant through FEMA to accomplish the buy-out.

According to Rozelle, the buy-out would not solve the “big problems” but would “get the township’s issue out of the way.”

He said FEMA possibly could provide funding for an approximate $5.6 million project to improve channels and replace bridges or about $5.3 million to create a 15-acre detention basin.

Rozelle strongly recommended the township work with other political subdivisions to create their own conservancy district or a sub-district of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD).

He said there are 5,500 properties in the Brewster Creek Watershed that could be part of a district.

Rozelle suggested the board attend an Ohio Emergency Management Agency workshop on applying for grants; prepare an application to FEMA for a buy-out; and join with Akron to form a new conservancy for Brewster Creek or a sub-district of the MWCD.

“My No. 1 recommendation is to work with the MWCD,” he said.

Rozelle added Akron needs to be a big part of the sub-district, which “could be easy to form.”

He also suggested involving the Ohio Department of Transportation in discussions, since its interchange and ramps off of Waterloo Road experience some flooding during heavy rains.

“There are a lot of players in this,” he said. “You can work together to solve these problems, though.”

Also during the meeting, the board approved a quote of $3,400 from Mulch Makers of Ohio Inc. to conduct two leaf drop-offs in November, with the cost to be reimbursed through the ReWorks Community Recycling Access Grant.

Township officials said the leaf drop-off program will be held Nov. 9 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Logan Field. In previous years, the drop-offs took place at Cottage Grove Park.

Council also approved:

  • a $5,000 contract with Lightner Tire Co. for scrap tire recycling in the township Nov. 9;
  • the removal of two trees at the Coventry Senior Center and two trees on the fire lane off of Onaway Avenue by J & J Tree Service in the amount of $4,400;
  • to use funds through the Moving Ohio Forward Grant Program for the demolitions of 283 Iris Ave., 660 Fruit Drive, 640 Fruit Drive and 965 Portage Lakes Drive; and
  • the appointment of Holly Miller from first alternate on the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to a regular member to fill out the unexpired term of Robert Stouffer, who recently resigned. The position ends Dec. 15, 2015. The board also appointed Jack Cousins to the position of first alternate on the BZA from his current position of second alternate, effective immediately.

The next board meeting is set for Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive.

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