Kinsman neighbors waiting to hear what’s next in plan to rebuild storm-damaged area

Local News

Senator Sean O'Brien talked about plans to raise funding to rebuild the damaged road

KINSMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – People are still trying to catch their breath after the flooding that hit the community Saturday morning.

Those living on the other side of Lakeview Drive are seeing just how bad the damage is for the first time since they were evacuated.

Power has been restored to those 30 homes, but people who live on Lakeview Drive still don’t know when they’ll be allowed to go back for good.

“With the power being back on we’re trying to get back there to shut all of our lights and stuff off and check the basement to make sure no flooding or anything is going on,” said evacuee Josh Upshire.

Upshire’s family and five pets were evacuated from their house after the Lakeview Drive causeway washed away. On Monday, he was finally able to see the damage.

“Just seeing this side and the damage and destruction that is there is overwhelming a little bit right now,” he said.

Caution tape now surrounds one home near where the lake once was. Officials erring on the side of caution are worried about more land behind it caving in.

Meanwhile, at the Kinsman Presbyterian Church, American Red Cross volunteers are still set up, helping evacuees with referrals and immediate assistance.

“We’ve just been really impressed by the way the community has come together. The folks that have been affected, you know, obviously it’s a stressful time for them but, you know, they seem to be in good spirits and they seem to be really working through this together,” said Red Cross volunteer Barbara Thomas.

Local churches are also teaming up to set up a fund through the Western Pennsylvania Eastern Ohio Community Foundation to help the victims who are at least, for now, unable to get back home.

“That’s the vehicle we’re using for fair distribution so that we know it stays here for those people who have needs in this community,” said Pastor Susan Francis, Kinsman Presbyterian Church.

All this while local leaders continue working to secure much-needed funding to help get the road fixed.

“We’re trying to evaluate what we need to do to … get this back open so residents can return to their homes,” said Sen. Sean O’Brien.

O’Brien said they are looking at different pools of money to take from for the project, but they first need to get an assessment from the county engineer.

“We’re talking with our county engineer Randy Smith, trying to get an evaluation on how much money we’re talking, even just to get it started so that we can get people back over there. Whether it’s with ATVs, you know, so they can at least get to their property, not having to come back the back way,” he said.

On Monday, O’Brien said officials “should have some idea later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.”

The Trumbull County EMA is asking residents in Greene, Gustavus and Kinsman to report any damage from the flooding on Saturday.

To do that, call 2-1-1 to reach the Help Network of Northeast Ohio. You will need to give your name, address, contact number and type of damage.

First responders in Kinsman are thanking surrounding communities, some from as far away as Conneaut, for helping with Saturday’s flooding disaster.

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