Monday evening, the Boardman School Board unanimously voted to close Market Street Elementary at the end of the school year. Now the focus shifts to what happens with the school building and its land.
Boardman trustees hope it’ll be donated to the ABC (Austintown, Boardman, Canfield) Water District for flood control. They said the building is a “community asset owned by the citizens of Boardman” and it should go back to help “the same community that has funded and supported it all these years.”
In light of the recent announcement regarding the potential closure of Market Street Elementary School, the township elected officials would like to propose a discussion with the Boardman Board of Education or members of the Board on the future of this site.
Currently, as you are aware, there is a large underground stormwater retention system that was constructed with the Ohio Public Works Commission funding. That area of Boardman has surface water flooding issues and would benefit with an expansion of that system.
The Market Street School property holds high value for future stormwater measures for the community’s benefit. The ABC Water and Stormwater District has the capability and capacity for assisting with construction of such a system, however, the property’s future ownership may be an issue.
Therefore, it is the township elected officials’ request that the Boardman Board of Education consider donating the property to the ABC Water and Stormwater Utility District for the public good. The school building is a community asset owned by the citizens of Boardman and its vacancy should go back to assist the same community that has funded and supported it all these years.”
— letter from Boardman trustees to the Board of Education, January 15, 2019
School Board President Jeff Barone said they’ll meet with township trustees.
“We know they’re good guys, we know what they’re trying to do. They can also appreciate the position we have, is we have a fiduciary responsibility to provide the financing and the facilities for this school system.”
“One of the things that would be a very good use would be a stormwater-type, green infrastructure project there,” said Boardman Administrator Jason Loree.
He envisions building a stream to collect stormwater on the vacant land behind the school. The stream would expand during heavy rain, then slowly release the water into a nearby stream and, eventually, into Mill Creek. Around the stream, there might be a walking path, but also trees and grasses to slow down the runoff.
“There is something good that could come out of this. Not just the school realigning and saving some folks money but also, potentially, some green infrastructure for stormwater retention in an area that floods,” Loree said.
Right now, the land is only zoned for a school or single-family homes but with how that area floods, Loree doesn’t think it’s a good idea to build more houses.
“I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it without some serious flood mitigation,” he said.
Loree said 12 years ago, the state paid to have two 60-inch pipes placed underground behind the school to help with flooding. After last summer’s big flood, it proved to not be enough.
One option could be dividing the property — using the low part for flood control and zoning the section along Market Street commercial, allowing the school board to sell it and make some money.
“The easy fix would be to consider donating the back part, maybe five to six acres, so that they could alleviate the flooding problems back there and then consider, possibly, doing something different or selling the front parcel,” Barone said.
He said money in the Clean Ohio Stream Restoration Program and some from the ABC Water District could pay for the project but Barone did not seem keen on donating all of it.
He said somewhere along the way, the school board would like to replace Center Intermediate School and it needs all the money it can get.