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Coventry to further fund flood mitigation

8/21/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

COVENTRY — Additional dollars are being secured for the construction of a comprehensive plan to better capture stormwater runoff and improve water quality in the area of Killian Road and Cosmos and Buttercup avenues around the Portage Lakes.

The office of Summit County Executive Russ Pry is siding with Coventry in a debate over whether the office of Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker should charge the township fees for engineering services being performed for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) project to combat continual flooding in the Cottage Grove neighborhood, said township Fiscal Officer Joni Murgatroyd during the Aug. 14 Coventry Board of Trustees meeting.

Recently, the township received a Storm Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) grant through the State of Ohio for about $143,000, with no matching funds required from the township.

Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer has said the SWIF grant will be used for “daylighting” — the removal of buried pipe — in Cottage Grove Park to create an eco-friendly stream and open area to accept stormwater runoff.

Trustee David Calderone said the area of Killian, Cosmos and Buttercup has “flooded for decades,” but this step — Phase II — should mitigate some of that flooding.

Phase III of the project is being funded partly through a CDBG, but more money will be used for this step in the plan than originally was expected by township officials.

Murgatroyd said the Engineer’s Office historically has charged the township engineering fees for projects funded through grants, despite objection from township officials.

“We feel that engineering is part of the normal responsibility of the Engineer’s Office,” Calderone said.

Township officials originally reported Coventry would use $50,000 through the CDBG for Phase III and the township would contribute $30,000 for engineering costs.

Murgatroyd said the Engineer’s Office was going to charge $30,000 for engineering fees for Phase III, designed to enlarge the stormwater pipe running down Comsos from Killian toward Cottage Grove Park, which soon will be ready to hold larger amounts of water resulting from significant rain events.

However, the Executive’s Office has objected to the $30,000 payment to the Engineer’s Office, Calderone said.

“They agree the Engineer’s Office should not be charging the township at all,” he explained. “So, now the $30,000 that was going to go toward the engineering fees will actually go toward part of the construction costs, making the total going to construction at $80,000. We are thrilled with this.”

Calderone said the Executive’s Office and Engineer’s Office are still continuing their discussions about engineering fees, however.

Additional phases also are in the works to continue to address flooding in homes in the Cottage Grove area, he said.

Recently, Trustee Ed Diebold and Calderone met with Pry to discuss a possible plan to mitigate chronic flooding on Penguin Avenue. Calderone said the area is becoming blighted, as numerous apartments on Penguin have been evacuated.

“This could be a way to get some relief,” he said.

Also during the meeting, the board approved contributing up to $1,000 for the purchase of a new treadmill for the fire department, as the old one could not be repaired.

Additionally, Fire Chief John Dolensky announced roof specifications are close to being done for a roof replacement project for the fire department.

The board also agreed to allow parents of Coventry High School football players to hang banners, in a safe manner, on the light posts on Portage Lakes Drive in support of this year’s team.

The board’s next regular meeting is set for Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at Coventry Town Hall, located at 68 Portage Lakes Drive.

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