By Jeff Gallatin
City officials are trying to stem the tide of further problems after the latest round of heavy rains July 19 and subsequent flooding by meeting with North Olmsted residents at three community meeting in the next 10 days.
Mayor Kevin Kennedy’s administration set the first meeting for residents of the Sandy Ridge development for Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m. in the pool pavilion of that development. A community wide meeting has been set for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28 in the Community Cabin in North Olmsted Park and a meeting for the Bretton Ridge Development has been set for 7 p.m. in the pool and park area of that development.
Jane Leaver, Kennedy’s assistant, said the meetings for the two specific developments were set up because those areas were hit hard by the rains early last week.
“We know those areas had a lot of problems so the mayor wanted to make sure that they had the opportunity to meet with city officials and work on the issues,” she said.
Kennedy will be at the meetings along with other city officials representing the public works and wastewater treatment plant.
“Residents will be able to talk to people who can help address their problems and concerns,” Leaver said.
Overall, as of late Thursday, the city had received about 250 contacts from city residents about problems caused by the heavy rains and subsequent flooding.
“We set up the meetings in the two areas because there were a lot of issues in those developments but we got calls from all over the city,” Leaver said. ‘It’s apparently pretty comparable to the flooding and problems caused by the storm back in 2005.”
Safety/service Director Scott Thomas said statistics provided by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in its daily precipitation report showed a total rainfall of 3.11 inches in North Olmsted with peak intensity figures of 3.72 at the five minute, 2.94 at the 10-minute and 2.30 at the 30-minute mark.
‘Those numbers mean we got hit pretty hard in the city,” Thomas said. “But, people know that already, now we have to get the problems taken care of. It’s unfortunate that the people in North Olmsted have been hit by two events like this in the matter of just a few months. First, we had the heavy snow and rain in February which caused a lot of flooding and meltdown issues in the city. Now, we have this heavy rainfall in July. “It’s been pretty tough for a lot of people.”
Thomas said the service department is logging the calls and getting city personnel out to homes with flooding and water issues as quickly as possible.
“Unfortunately, it’s turned into a pretty big job with the numbers we’ve got, but we do have people working on all of this,” he said. “We understand people’s frustration and have city workers working hard to try and deal with all of that.”
Thomas said the changes planned in the more than $40 million expansion and upgrade of the city’s waste water treatment plant will help alleviate many of the problems on a long-term basis.
“There’s no question that it will help deal with some of the issues as the work gets done in the next few years,” he said. “But, when you have an event like this than you’re going to have problems. And right now, we have to deal with what we’ve got, so we’re going to continue to work on them as best we can.”