September 30, 2014

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North Ridgeville Planning Commission to discuss flooding abatement

Carol Roy, of Paula Court in North Ridgeville, pours water out of a bin that was under a bed. The basement rooms filled with deep water after flood waters and sewage came in during the storms. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Carol Roy, of Paula Court in North Ridgeville, pours water out of a bin that was under a bed. The basement rooms filled with deep water after flood waters and sewage came in during the storms. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The city’s infrastructure needs, including sewer improvements to relieve longstanding flooding, are on the agenda for a special meeting next week.

The gathering of City Council members, administrators and city department heads is set for 9 a.m. June 27 in City Council chambers.

The meeting is open to the community and designed to see heads of various city departments submit five-year plans that spell out their future needs, said City Council President Kevin Corcoran.

“It looks to be a pretty comprehensive meeting,” Corcoran said.

The meeting was sparked in large part by questions from angry residents who attended the last two Council meetings demanding answers about when and what would be done to ease flooding that caused serious damage and losses last month.

Homeowners in various parts of the city were affected ranging from the Mills Creek area and Northview Circle condos off of Lear-Nagle Road to the Gina-Pitts-Gail Drive neighborhood that has sustained some of the city’s worst and most persistent flooding problems over the past 20-plus years.

“We’ll be looking at major areas that always require our attention,” Corcoran said, referring to sewers and streets.

Because the city approved its budget earlier in the year as required by law, whatever decisions are made on projects and priorities will depend on available funds.

“Just because we select a given project doesn’t necessarily mean it will be taken care of immediately, due to funding constraints,” Corcoran said. “But this will give us a road map for the future.”

Following Monday night’s Council meeting, one woman told Corcoran she wanted to see money spent on flooding issues, regardless of where it originates.

“That’s one of the hardest things to explain to people,” Corcoran said of the legal prohibition that prevents funds appropriated earmarked for one account from being used for other purposes.

“You can’t cross-pollinate funds,” Corcoran said. “That’s against the law. Monies are reserved for specific purposes.”

As of Tuesday, Corcoran said he had received a report from Fire Chief John Reese that includes plans for new fire stations that have been discussed for some time, but he is awaiting reports from other departments.

“I expect to have those in the next few days,” Corcoran said.

The Fire Department has made the case for some time for new satellite fire stations to supplement the pair of stations including the cramped fire house on Avon-Belden Road built in 1957.

The city recently acquired property at Stoney Ridge and Barres roads on the west side as a future home for a satellite station to cover that rapidly-growing part of the city.

Once presentations are made, Council and the administration, including City Auditor Chris Costin, likely will continue discussions on possible avenues for paying for needed improvements.

These extended discussions likely will lead to a bigger community meeting to be held later at the city library or North Ridgeville Education Center, Corcoran said.

The daytime meeting was scheduled to accommodate presentations of unknown length, Corcoran said.

“We didn’t know how much time we were going to need,” Corcoran said. “We didn’t want to start at 6 p.m. and go until 10.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.