Residents demand solution to prevent future floods in Boardman

In the near future, Boardman homes and businesses will be charged a utility fee
By: Stan Boney
Posted: Aug 13, 2018 09:59 PM EDT  Updated: Aug 13, 2018 11:53 PM EDT
Local Red Cross steps in to help Boardman families affected by storm damage
BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A group of people affected by Friday’s flooding in Boardman showed up at Monday night’s trustees’ meeting, wanting solutions to the problems.

They want help paying for the damage, which they may not get. To make sure this doesn’t happen again, they also want a plan — which they may get.

Joe Bertin lives on Arlene Drive, which was knee deep in water on Friday night after the rain hit.

“I can’t continue to clean up poop water up to my stomach,” he said.

MORE: Boardman’s floodwaters rose up gas pumps, knocked out basement wall

Bertin was one of the 15 people who spoke up at the meeting. Their basements flooded and they want help.

“We’re watching it come through the walls,” Bertin said. “I mean, it’s coming through the stinkin’ walls in the house. It’s coming up through the cement in our basement floor that’s cracked.”

“Furnace is done for, my dryer, my washer, having a problem with our water heater. It’s probably about $20,000 worth of damage as well,” said Julie Romeo, who lives on Ridgefield Avenue.

“The amount of water, it doesn’t make sense. It really doesn’t,” said Laura DiPiero, who lives on N. Cadillac Drive.

Some asked if federal grants or loans were available, which helped some of them after a similar flood in 2003. Mahoning County Emergency Management Director Dennis O’Hara said there must be widespread destruction.

“While we have some structures, some residents that have sustained major damage with wall collapses, it doesn’t meet the threshold for us to receive the federal assistance.”

Boardman is comprised of two major watersheds — Mill Creek and Yellow Creek.

Township Administrator Jason Loree explained Boardman’s future plans for stormwater retention. Boardman has joined Austintown and Canfield to form a Stormwater Utility District. In the near future, every home and business in Boardman will be charged a utility fee.

“That goes to a pot of money for stormwater utility infrastructure and, in some cases, unfortunately, the best solution is to relocate and get rid of homes,” Loree said.

If relocating is what it takes, Bertin may be fine with that.

“I’m willing to sell the property back and turn it into a retention pond. I don’t care about making anything. I want the problem fixed,” he said.

No one knew for sure the extent of the damage in Boardman. How many homes or businesses were affected? Was the damage major or minor?

The trustees asked that a system be put in place for people to report the damage by phone or email. When we know what that system is, we’ll pass it on.

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