KINSMAN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time in months, people living in one Kinsman neighborhood can come and go by hopping in a car and driving down the street. It’s been a long three months since the only entrance to their homes washed out but now, the causeway is finally fixed.
On golf carts, on four-wheelers and in cars, neighbors paraded one-by-one, cheering and honking Thursday evening.
“Really, when you look at it now, when you compare to early in July, it’s no comparison to what you’re looking at now,” said Kinsman Township Trustee Greg Leonhard.
Flooding washed out the road. The only way in and out of the Lakelands neighborhood by car — the causeway — was gone.
“I haven’t been home since July 20 when it happened,” Karen Sullinger said.
For the last 3 months, residents have had to park at Ace Hardware and ride four-wheelers and golf carts through the woods to get home.
They all work together.
“Wasn’t nothing we could do about it so you had to make the best of it,” Ken Stafford said.
It’s not just the neighbors, though. Everyone has pitched in.
“Sunburst is picking up all the garbage for nothing. The police department being back there every night, patrolling on an ATV,” Leonhard said.
Incredibly, work on the causeway finished early.
“We had 60 days and 60 days is up Saturday,” said JET Excavating President Todd Phillips.
He was there the day of the flood, scoping out the damage.
Once the money was secured for the $1.8 million project, the timer started. You don’t usually see a construction job done on time, let alone early.
“The weather had a lot to do with this,” Phillips said. “It helped us out tremendously.”
Neighbors popped champagne at Thursday’s celebration. They are grateful to local lawmakers who pushed the state, resulting in a disaster declaration by Governor Mike DeWine.
Their lake is gone but they’ll make the best of that, too.
“Mow it and keep it down,” Stafford said. “We don’t want it to grow up in brush like it was.”
“It takes stuff like this sometimes,” Leonhard said. “Unfortunately, in your everyday life, you see the worst. I think I’m biased but I think I live in the best community in Trumbull County.”
The chapter of inconvenient access is closed.
“Now we’re going to enjoy this part of it,” Stafford said.
They aren’t interested in pushing the township to build another road out of the neighborhood — they’re fine with this being the only way.
Kids are excited because Friday, the bus will be able to pick them up on their streets again.