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Storm hits Akron area, causing damage, closures

5/15/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Shaw Road in Bath suffered extensive damage due to the storm, shown above. A bridge on Shaw Road near Rolling Meadows Drive that collapsed is pictured below.
Photos: Maria Lindsay
GREATER AKRON — An evening storm rolled across the northern part of Summit County May 12, resulting in a number of road and agency closures, as well as school closures due to water damage.

Among the worst hit areas were sections of Akron, Bath and Cuyahoga Falls.

According to city of Akron officials, Akron experienced 3 to 4 inches of rain in the hardest hit area, and 1 to 2 inches in the majority of Akron. In Cuyahoga Falls, the city officials reported it received almost 3 inches of rain in a two-hour period. In Bath, township officials estimated Bath received about 5 inches that evening.

According to city of Akron officials, as a result of the severe weather, the Summit County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) activated the Emergency Operation Center for several hours that evening and the morning of May 13. The EMA conducted damage assessments for communities across the county and provided any needed assistance to those communities, according to Akron officials.

Bath Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli said Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker had four crews who surveyed storm damage in the township. The Bath Service Department also worked to address culvert washouts, he said. The parks supervisor also reviewed damage in township parks, said Sinopoli.

One of the hardest hit roads in Bath was Shaw Road, which was closed between Rolling Meadows Drive and Granger Road.

Sinopoli said the Shaw Road closure resulted from rushing water that caused a bridge to collapse on Shaw Road near Rolling Meadows Drive. Several residents living on Shaw Road were unable to access the road from their driveways because ditches also had washed out.

Water also left its mark in the parks, according to Sinopoli, who added that most of that damage was limited to culverts and a foot bridge in the Bath Nature Preserve. A culvert at the Bath Community Center also was damaged by water and was closed until repairs were addressed, according to Sinopoli.

Sinopoli said a number of culverts next to personal property also were damaged. Those with individual property loss should contact Service Director Caine Collins at 330-666-4007.

The storm also brought down trees, with some dropping on power lines at Bath and Revere roads, but Sinopoli said FirstEnergy and county crews responded to re-establish power quickly.

“We would appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we address the problems,” said Sinopoli May 13. “We are working as quickly as we can, but it will take several weeks to get the damage under control. We are working with limited resources.”

Sinopoli added Richfield Village, Fairlawn and Copley offered support to help Bath clean up.

In Cuyahoga Falls, flooding closed Graham Road. The Summit County Public Health office on Graham Road in Stow also experienced flooding and is closed indefinitely. To contact the agency, call 330-375-2772. [The agency plans to move to 1867 W. Market St. this fall.]

Cuyahoga Falls City Hall was closed May 13 due to flooding, and the city’s general phone lines and email were out of service. The 9-1-1 emergency number and nonemergency number at 330-928-2181 were operational, according to Cuyahoga Falls officials.

The Cuyahoga Falls Mayor’s Office reported an emergency management team and city crews assessed the damage and made repairs to roads and infrastructure. Numerous citizens were rescued throughout the night, and roads that were blocked were being cleared. Recovery efforts were coordinated with Summit County Emergency Management.

In Akron, city officials said the city received reports of 70 flooded basements by mid-day May 13. Several roads in Merriman Valley were closed or flooded temporarily and then later reopened as they were cleared or floodwaters receded. According to Akron officials, Cuyahoga Street from Sackett to Uhler avenues may be closed for several days due to severe washouts that may need contractor work.

City officials are permitting Akron curb service customers to place damaged material on the curb strip where normal trash is placed. Customers are asked to call 3-1-1 from a home phone or 330-375-2311 from outside the city to schedule a free pickup. Pickups will occur on the customer’s normally scheduled pickup day.

Due to the severity of the flooding, the city has waived the rule that material not be placed on the curb before 4:30 p.m. until May 20. This special pickup will not count against the three special pickups the city offers to its customers each year.

Also after the storm, Summit Metro Parks officials reported multiple closures as a result of high water, washouts and storm debris. Updates are available via Twitter (@metro_parks) and on the park district’s “Alerts” page at www.summitmetroparks.org under the “News” tab.

Also, the National Park Service closed the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) due to high waters, washouts and flooding from the storm, which caused downed trees, mud and standing water, according to CVNP officials. To check on closures, visit www.nps.gov/cuva before traveling to a park.

Summit County Fiscal Officer Kristen Scalise announced real estate tax relief will be available to property owners who have sustained damage. Property owners can file an Application for Valuation Deduction for Destroyed or Damaged Property (Form DTE 26), which can be downloaded from FiscalOffice.sum mitoh.net. Mail the completed form to the Fiscal Office at 175 S. Main St., Room 304, Akron, OH 44308. Property owners also can call 330-643-2704 to request a form in the mail.

The filing deadline is Dec. 31, but Scalise stressed this application should be filed as soon as possible. Any deduction from value will be relflected on the tax bills mailed in January 2015.

Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack also is offering tax relief to Medina County residents. Property owners can file a Destroyed or Damaged Property form, available at www.medinacountyauditor.org/forms.htm, which is also due by Dec. 31. Credit for damage only applies to real property. For more details, call 330-725-9754.

The storm also caused a number of school closures in the West Side Leader coverage area, including: Archbishop Hoban High School in South Akron, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools, Immaculate Heart of Mary School and Summit Christian School in Cuyahoga Falls, Old Trail School in Bath, Revere Local Schools and Woodridge Local Schools.

Information on cleaning up after a flood, flood safety and other preparedness tips are available by visiting www.odh.ohio.gov or www.epa.gov.

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