BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – From a school to a stormwater project, the plan to demolish a school in Boardman to help with flooding is underway.

June 4, 2019, was the last day of school at Boardman’s Market Street Elementary School. Enrollment was falling, and the school board decided to save money and close it for good.

It’s now being demolished, with the front half to be developed and the back half used for flood control.

Wednesday, many gathered at the former school to break ground on a new project at the location,

“This is a regional detention system for the folks that live in this part of Boardman Township: Erksine, Melrose, Montrose, Meadowbrook area. We’re trying to get this water here as fast as it can to store, so it’s not lingering and infiltrating the sanitary system,” said Jason Loree, ABC Water and Stormwater District board member.

Loree said the “Forest Lawn Stormwater Park” is just the first step in solving the flooding issue in the township. The plan is to put in a stream and flood plain.

“That holds a million gallons of water, which in a big rain event will look like a small lake, but during normal flow, you’re going to have your stream,” he said.

Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler climbed into an excavator to begin the demolition of the old school. The commissioners are responsible for allocating $1 million in American Rescue Plan Funds for this over $3 million project.

He said it’s important to eliminate flooding for the residents.

Loree said it’s much more than solving the flooding issue. It’s actually going to be a park for residents in Boardman Township to enjoy.

“We’re going to have a 10-foot wide trail. There will be an open stream. There will be lighting. There is going to be security cameras, on-street parking. There are just ton of different things that are going to stabilize this area,” he said.

“It will open the doors to new learning experiences because previously yeah, we would just have to sit in a classroom and sometimes go outside, but if we can actually go into the building and do field testing, I think it will be a really, really good thing for teaching,” said student Lucas Beggs.

The project is expected to be completed in 2024.

After the demolition of the school is complete, the Boardman Alumni Association plans to save 100 bricks from the demolition to give to any alumni who would like to have a piece of the school’s history. Contact the association at 330-540-8204 or to reserve a brick. Pick-up and shipping information will be announced soon.