The city's 2nd Ward councilman has spearheaded the improvements.
YOUNGSTOWN -- For years, flooding and drainage problems have been a nagging, distasteful fact of life for residents in the city's Sharon Line area.
Most longtime residents prefer to have the area called the Sharon Line because it was named from a streetcar line that ran from Youngstown to Sharon, Pa., until 1939.
The East Side community, which is formally known as McGuffey Heights, is close to Hubbard and was the only area of the city that had open drainage ditches, with many people still using septic systems.
Residents brought the health and quality-of-life issues to Councilman Rufus Hudson, D-2nd, in 2000 to see if he could do what few other councilmen had been able to do.
The matter has been at the forefront of Hudson's five years as 2nd Ward councilman, and through his work with state and city officials, those flooding and drainage problems are dissipating.
This past May, Foust Construction Co. of Girard finished putting in new storm sewers, and the company will start later this month on a second phase.
The McGuffey Heights area was annexed into the city in 1929, Hudson said.
The flooding problems stemmed from Sugar Creek, a small tributary that runs from Hubbard Township, flows through the Sharon Line, travels past the former East High School, and ends up in Crab Creek. The councilman said there was no consistent height or depth to Sugar Creek, which caused flooding during heavy rains.
He said some 700 residents, businesses and churches along Jacobs Road, have long put up with flooding. After listening to their complaints, he initiated a public works project to try to alleviate the problems.
In 2001, Hudson drafted city council legislation for the project, and later that same year, the engineering firm MS Consultants of Youngstown did a study to map out the sewage and drainage system and to find out where there worst bottlenecks were.
In summer 2002, public hearings on the study were conducted with the residents.
Hudson said the study was finalized, and the city was successful in getting State Issue 2 money amounting to $350,000 to separate the storm sewers and sanitary sewers in the area.
Construction started early in 2004. Sanitary sewers stayed in place and new storm sewers were installed on 23 catch basins. The old 6-inch storm sewer pipelines were replaced with 20-inch lines.
More manholes were added to allow the storm water to drain into the pipes, the councilman added.
About $400,000 came from the city's waste department funds to help finance the project. Streets included in Phase One were Kenyon, Hilliard, Gerwig, Northwood, and Nelson avenues and Jacobs Road.
But there was still work to be done, so the design for the second phase started in June.
Phase Two will proceed from Jacobs Road and include sewer work on Castalia and Northwood avenues and Karl Street.
Sanitary and storm water sewers again will be separated and new storm sewer lines installed.
Last month, the city board of control approved the award of Phase Two to Foust for its bid amount of $226,123. Hudson applauded the efforts of MS Consultants, the city's public works and waste departments for an excellent job, and he also thanked his council colleagues for supporting his efforts.
The total cost for both phases is $3.2 million, and Hudson said he plans to fill up the last three years of his second council term, which ends in 2007, "dealing with flooding and sewer projects on the far East Side."