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'I'm stuck' - Still no answers for Elm Street Flooding

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:08 PM

Several residents of Elm Street attended Tuesday's work session for Norwalk City Council to voice complaints and ask questions about frequent flooding problems in the last two years.

Marilyn Seiler, of 51 E. Elm St., wanted to know why her basement has flooded five times since heavy rains in June of 2006 when it hadn't flooded since 1969 before the 2006 problem.

"Are you guys going to do anything about those houses at risk?" she asked. "What am I supposed to do? I cannot put my house on the market to sell. I'm stuck."

Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch said even though the possibility of the city buying up to five problem homes in the area was brought up after the 2006 flooding, the city couldn't get funding even for just three of the homes.

Lucy Hokes, of 32 E. Elm St., asked what had changed to make the area flood more in the last two years.

"Something is going on at the reservoir," she said as she asked several questions about city operations. "This isn't rainwater. This is water from the creek and the reservoir. You've spent an awful lot of money on studies and nothing's getting done."

Bill McKinney, of 59 E. Elm St., and Dick Barna, of 52 E. Elm St., also voiced their concerns about flooding. Barna said he never had a problem until bridges on Elm Street and Benedict Avenue were replaced.

Lesch said flooding was caused because of "too much water too quickly" being dumped in the area. She said the Ohio Department of Transportation replaced the Benedict Avenue bridge according to their regulations and the city has looked at the suggestion of putting up a flood wall and another culvert, but a study had shown those measures wouldn't help the problem Elm Street residents face.

She said the reservoir has been managed the same way for the past 30 years so that couldn't account for more flooding.

Lesch and council members agreed to ask the engineering firm that studied flooding in the area to come back to meet both with homeowners and with council to take another look at the issues.

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