NEORSD gives final presentation on flood control project

by Dan Holland

Dec. 12 city council work session

Representatives of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District gave a final update and presentation to city officials on the Chippewa Creek Flood Reduction at Echo Lane Project during the Dec. 12 city council work session. With the design process fully complete, work is expected to commence this fall and last for approximately one year.

The project, which is being conducted as part of NEORSD’s Regional Stormwater Management Program, aims to alleviate flooding conditions along Echo Lane, Twin Oaks Drive, West Ridge Drive and surrounding areas in Broadview Heights. Project goals include reducing flooding in the local and regional system, daylighting of the stream where feasible and restoring the stream corridor to its natural state, according to Donna Freidman, manager of community watershed coordination for NEORSD.

Projected cost estimates include $11 million on NEORSD’s part, with an additional $1.4 million being the responsibility of the city for ancillary work in the neighborhood that involves improvements to city-owned land near the dead-ended section of Echo Lane. A small stream in the area will be converted into a detention basin by building a mound along the rear of properties that extend back from Sprague Road. Storm sewers along Briarwood Drive that flow into the NEORSD portion of the project will also be replaced.

The project will include enlargement and modifications to a stormwater detention basin in North Royalton, located between Helen Drive and Valley Lane Drive, which feeds the stream. A culvert along Echo Lane and Twin Oaks will be replaced with a larger pipe to increase flow capacity. An open channel that runs behind homes on Twin Oaks and Briarwood Drive will be widened.

In total, the city acquired six partial property easements in the neighborhood tied to the project, while NEORSD engaged in 36 property transactions that included fee-simple acquisitions, temporary easements and permanent easements. Eight properties were purchased by the sewer district, including six homes that were demolished. Work will include the erection of construction fences, road work with detours, tree felling and earth work, according to Friedman.

“We are very grateful for the willingness of those living in the neighborhood to work with us on this project,” said Friedman. “Through the property transactions and through public meetings, we met many residents, and we were able to listen to their stories of flooding. It is clear to me that there is support for this work. The city also really showed up by funding the work on the local stream. The decision on their part to go that extra mile will greatly reduce flooding for residents on Briarwood.”

Ward 3 Councilperson George Stelmaschuk said he is hopeful that once completed, the project will help residents in the area avoid future flooding concerns, which go back through a number of decades.

“Not too long after I was elected in 2005, there was a horrible flood in 2006, and I visited many residents in that area who had several feet of water in their basements,” said Stelmaschuk. “We tried to work with North Royalton to clean the retention basin to retain more water in the area but were never successful. Flooding occurred several times after that, and each time, I would send NEORSD pictures of the destruction and damage to residents’ properties.”

“I think the constant pressure on the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District helped to get one of the first projects after they raised rates to raise money to fix stormwater problems throughout their system,” he added.

Mayor Sam Alai thanked NEORSD and noted former North Royalton Mayor Robert Stefanik for his role in the early stages of the project.

“Bob Stefanik sat on the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District board and he helped creep this project along back in the day. So again, the city of North Royalton was looking out for the best interests of both North Royalton and Broadview Heights,” said Alai. “It is finally coming to fruition, and again, I thank you for all of the hard work on this.”  ∞