Boardman Eyes $500K in Grants for Stormwater Work

BOARDMAN, Ohio — After a few years of excessive flooding due to rain waters, the township is putting the wheels in motion to address areas heavily affected by flooding.

Through the ABC Water and Stormwater District, the township is attempting to acquire disaster mitigation grants, for which the township has received one for $250,000 “and we have three more in the pipeline,” said township administrator Jason Loree. The grants will be used for the area hardest hit by floods, he said, which is along Cranberry Run.

“What we’re trying to do and what this money allows us to do is to go after homes that are in a flood plain,” Loree said. “So if they’re specifically in a flood plain as the map delineated, we can ask the homeowner if they’d like to basically move. And the state will come in with the funding to buy the house.”

Loree explained the plans to address concerns voiced by residents at a township trustees meeting Dec. 30.

The township has sent out 15 letters to homeowners notifying them of the opportunity, Loree said, and looks to acquire 19 homes in the flood plain through the grant. The properties are located along a sandstone channel.

“We want to remove that to allow the flood plain to be what it was supposed to be – a flood plain,” he said.

In total, Loree said the township could potentially receive more than $500,000 in grants to extend the monies that the water district gets to help take people out of areas that are consistently flooding in the flood plain.

For areas not in the flood plain that still suffer flooding and water quality issues, the township is looking to apply for funding from the Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. To be eligible, the township must design a Nonpoint Source Implementation Strategic plan, or NPSIS plan, Loree said.

“I will tell you that nobody in Mahoning County has a NPSIS plan,” he said.

Of the municipalities eligible for the grant monies, some 15% have applied. Boardman looks to apply for the funding for four areas in the township. Planning started Dec. 18, and another meeting is scheduled for Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. Loree expects the NPSIS plans to be complete by mid-February so the township can apply for the funds in the next round.

“That’s opened the door to money that we never would have been able to receive if we didn’t have the water district,” he said. “So, we’re trying to take that money and move it exponentially.”

In addition to seeking grants, Boardman has an infrastructure file being created that’s tied to GIS mapping of all private and public retention systems in the township, Loree added. The systems will be inspected and mapped annually, with information being made to the public online, he said.

Other initiatives include seeking $1.5 million in state grant requests through the office of state Rep. Don Manning, R-59, New Middletown, for a stormwater retention park near the former Market Street Elementary School along Cranberry Run, and another $5.5 million in state grants for Forest Lawn Cemetery.

The township has met with the Army Corps of Engineers about working with the water district, Loree said.

“They’d be willing to do planning for Mill Creek Park, for the major corridor,” he said. “The problem is the Army Corps was pretty specific in saying that they’re not sure they’re going to get funded for planning.

“At the federal level, there have been some changes to how the Army Corps operates. They’ve lost some capabilities by presidential order and some of their funding has been cut,” Loree continued. “So I’m not sure if we’re going to have money from the Army Corps to help.”

But once the corps knows what the federal budget will be and money is available for funding, the township will be added to the list, he said.

In other business, trustees approved to appropriate $9,245,059 in funds for all regular and necessary expenditures. They also voted to transfer two liquor permits; one from Bruno’s Restaurant Inc. to VIP 1 Group LLC for the restaurant at 1984 Boardman Poland Road, and another to the Rite Aid at 307 Boardman Canfield Road from the Rite Aid at 3032 Mahoning Road, Canton.

Trustees adopted a resolution to hire CT Consultants for $25,000 for engineering and construction management services for the second phase of the Huntington Drive project that was funded earlier in 2019 through an Ohio Public Works Commission Emergency grant.

They also approved purchase of a protective armored police vehicle from Lenco Armored Vehicles for use by the Boardman Police Dept.’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit. The vehicle was purchased for $225,000 from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund, which is funded by seized illegal assets.

“Our Narcotics Enforcement Unit is very active. They go on anywhere between 35 and 50 high-risk warrants a year,” said township police Chief Todd Werth. “That’s not counting some of the emergency-type missions.”

Currently, the unit uses a 1998 repurposed Brinks truck refitted with additional welded steel plates and other modifications, Werth said. The new vehicle is a “purpose-built” law enforcement vehicle, not a surplus military vehicle, he said. As such, it’s safe for the officers and built to operate on township roads without damaging them, he said.

Pictured: Jason Loree (right) explains Boardman Township plans to address stormwater flooding.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.