NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Friday’s meeting of City Council and administrative heads to discuss solutions for headaches facing the city, including flooding and roadwork, produced some long-range solutions and projected costs.
Chief among those topics during the special six-plus-hour Committee of the Whole meeting were planned upgrades to alleviate the flooding that recently plagued neighborhoods following May’s torrential rains.
The meeting was sparked by angry residents demanding answers over what the city was going to do to ease severe flooding that caused damage and losses for homeowners in parts of the city including the Mills Creek area, Northview Circle condos off Lear-Nagle Road and the Gina-Pitts-Gail Drive neighborhood that has sustained some of the city’s worst and most persistent flooding over 20-plus years.
City Engineer Scott Wangler presented a detailed map that illustrated $4.4 million in proposed improvements over five years designed to reduce the potential for floods by constructing new detention basins or the deepening and widening of existing basins.
The projects are recommended by Bramhall Engineering and Surveying Co., an Akron firm hired by the city to help develop solutions for the flooding.
About 1,400 feet of 72-inch pipe are planned to be installed parallel to the Ohio Turnpike in a $550,000 project to move storm water away from the Pitts-Gina-Gail Drive area.
A similar $400,000 project would lower water levels for the Pitts-Gina-Gail Drive area from 100-year flood events by 1½ feet by enlarging and deepening a culvert as part of the pending Lear-Nagle Road widening project and installation of dual 48-inch pipes in an area east of Pitts Boulevard.
A projected $1.98 million would be spent on three separate projects to relieve flooding in the Mills Creek area in the eastern part of the city by constructing 16-acre and 10-acre retention basins and lowering water levels for 100-year storm events by 2.4 feet by expanding a retention basin near the U-Store business on Center Ridge Road.
“You’re going to find that all of these things are going to be a big plus,” Safety-Service Director Jeffry Armbruster told an attendee.
Mayor David Gillock said that the Center Ridge Road widening project, which still requires voter approval of an $8 million local share bond issue that was rejected by voters in May, calls for construction of storm sewers, gutters and detention basins along any portion of the road.
Those measures, which would accompany the three-to-five-lane widening of the road from Lear-Nagle to Stoney Ridge roads, also are expected to improve flood-prone areas such as the Gina-Pitts-Gail Drive neighborhood.
Service Department Supervisor Al Swindig was among those who said that recent media reports showed images of severe flooding mistakenly identified as occurring in North Ridgeville instead of neighboring Avon.
“Avon flooded very badly, and they’re working on the problem, too,” Swindig said.
Gillock again stressed that flooding is a regional issue, not one restricted to any particular community.
“If the water can’t leave North Ridgeville due to problems in Sheffield and Avon, then what we’re doing doesn’t matter,” Gillock said.
Friday’s projections and discussions of future needs included other major projects being considered for the next five years:
- Doubling from 1.5 miles to 3 miles the amount of city streets and roads to receive major paving work
- Building a $4.6 million, 2-million-gallon water tower to improve water pressure, particularly in the city’s north and southeast parts
- Studying construction of a new service garage jointly serving and paid for by the city and school district on Bainbridge Road where the existing garage is, and where the new middle school is to be built
- Purchase new Service Department vehicles, including a $412,000 vacuum truck, to clean out storm sewers, waterlines and catch basins
- Buy three to five new police cruisers a year to prevent costly repairs and other problems on aging vehicles
- Add one detective to the North Ridgeville Police Department
- Offer competitive salaries to retain talented, experienced police officers instead of losing them to higher-paying cities