The township got nearly 100 calls for help during the May 2 flooding.
By TRACIE KNIGHT BALENTINE
HOWLAND -- Township trustees have committed $200,000 to fund a wildlife preserve. The money will come from wetlands mitigation fees.
Mitigation fees are compensation paid to the township for loss of use and value of a wetland that is converted to other uses by developers and others. The township has 200 acres of wetlands from Park Avenue to North River Road.
It will require state Issue I funding of $590,274 to acquire an additional 120 acres for the preserve, according to administrator Darlene St. George.
"This will provide beauty and enhancements, including an educational center and walking trails. This will allow our residents to appreciate the flora and fauna of the area. It will absolutely be a jewel within the township," St. George said at Wednesday's trustee meeting.
She added that this will be a unique opportunity for the community to use funds derived from giving up wetlands to expand and enhance land that will stay green space forever.
Trustee Rick Clark said the township intended to use the mitigation funds to restore and enhance wetlands, but Issue I will provide funding only for acquisition of new wetlands.
St. George indicated schools and universities have expressed interest in utilizing the area for educational purposes.
Public works director David McCann said heavy rains May 2 prompted almost 100 calls of flooded yards and basements.
"There is not much we can do if there was only 1 to 2 inches of water. We couldn't respond to all calls. We spent most of our time helping those with 2 to 3 feet of water," he told trustees.
He said residents can help alleviate potential for flooding by keeping ditches and catch basins free of leaves, grass and other debris that can block the flow of water. He said debris clogged up the systems and made a bad situation worse.
McCann said the township is also in the middle of its limb and branch removal program, but the weather has delayed collection. He anticipates the program will be completed next week.
Trustees hired two Howland High School seniors as temporary summer help in the public works department at $7 per hour and Kenneth Evans as a general laborer at $7.50 per hour.
They also accepted the resignation of part-time police officer Tim Albu of Niles, who was involved in a fatal crash.
Both sides of Ridgewood Drive N.E., from Cain Drive to the entrance of HAC ball fields, were designated as a no-parking zone. Signs will be installed.
The clerk was authorized to advertise for bids for construction of a half-mile of sidewalk on old state Route 82, from 9400 E. Market Street to One American Way.
Trustees reminded residents that mosquito spraying is set for Monday and Tuesday.
The trustees also announced that a state project to resurface the state Routes 46/82 area will include new turning lanes.