BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – After four floods in 42 days, a large crowd showed up at a meeting Monday night in Boardman — many of them frustrated with what they say is inaction by township trustees.
The trustees said they understood. They know there’s a problem and they’re working on it.
Some people say that’s not enough.
A hundred people — the largest crowd yet for a meeting in Boardman about flooding — attended Monday’s township trustees meeting. Most had stories about how they’ve dealt with flooding.
“There was four or five homes that were flooded, pretty much up to the basement floor,” said Keith Colovos, who lives on Afton Avenue.
“I walk around with an extra pump and a big black hose, just going from neighbor to neighbor. I’m soaking wet, I’m ugly,” said Jackie Thompson, who lives on Homestead Drive. “I clean out every one of their basements.”
Judy Peyko, whose house has flooded three times in less than a year, wanted one thing.
“The first thing you need to do is to put a moratorium on any new construction until we get some things under control,” she said.
Mark Brandenstein questioned why the trustees overruled the zoning board and allowed a new Meijer to be built. He received an ovation after suggesting the Meijer project be put on hold.
“That’s not denying an application to build. It’s just saying, ‘Listen, hold off. Hold off a little bit until we get this figured out,'” Brandenstein said.
“I understand you want to blame somebody,” Trustee Larry Moliterno said.
He said the trustees are working to fix the flooding problems. First, they’re going to commission a study to see what needs to be done.
“For as much as we would love to stand up here and tell you there’s an easy fix, there’s not,” Moliterno said.
“We’re watching our properties decrease in value,” said Mike Sprague, who lives on Holbrook Road.
He questioned the respect trustees have for the people they represent.
“Like this lady, here. She’s got a walker. How’s she getting downstairs to shut the damn valve off? Now that’s not your problem, in one sense, but it’s the connection and that’s the key here.”
Township Administrator Jason Loree began the meeting with several announcements.
First, the township has signed an agreement with FEMA to open an office for a couple of days to help victims of May’s flood register for aid. Exactly when it will be open hasn’t been announced yet.
Boardman has received a $124,000 grant to help fix Huntington Drive, which was damaged on May 28.
On Wednesday, township officials will show representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers the sandstone-lined channels that create problems.
On Monday, the township received four bids from engineering firms interested in creating a stormwater master plan.