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POLAND VILLAGE Community panel takes on flooding concerns



Published: Fri, January 28, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The chairman of the group is worried about bluebells.

POLAND -- The symbol of the village's flooding problems is blue.

The Yellow Creek water pooling in back yards may be inconvenient, and the occasional flooding in the library basement could become costly.

But it's the bluebells in Poland Woods that are irreplaceable.

Mayor Ruth Wilkes' blue-ribbon committee of folks with backgrounds that make them knowledgeable about flooding met for the first time Thursday night to begin to explore conditions that have triggered three "100-year floods" in just a few years.

They want to find out what to do about it.

More serious problem

"The most serious problem is not the library, but the damage to the forest," Mike Thompson, an attorney and chairman of the study group.

The forest is "mildly famous" for the bluebells that come out every spring, he said. "Gardeners come from all over to see it. It's a carpet of bluebells."

The signature flowers only grow in the floodplain, and they need the natural forest floor covering of leaves and compost to thrive.

"The flooding is scouring the land bare," Thompson said, putting in jeopardy a defining feature of the roughly 300 acres south of Poland.

While most of the village rests on the high bank side of the Yellow Creek, its overflows have made a mess in the basement of the community's new $6.5 million library, which has hired a stream management consulting firm to give advice on how to keep the water out of the building.

Besides Thompson, the study group includes the chairman of the Poland Municipal Forest board, Jim Swager; retired engineer Ted Heineman; geologist Paul Rogers; retired Youngstown State University ecological biologist Lauren Schroeder; and Councilman Joe Mazur.

Near the bottom

Poland is "second from the bottom" in the flow of the 40-mile-long Yellow Creek Watershed, the mayor points out. It stretches from northern Columbiana County to Struthers, the only community farther downstream than Poland.

The members of the study panel hope to enlist Boardman to help with the investigation and solutions, Thompson said, and may engage other communities.

"It was great start," he said of the session Thursday. "We need to define the problem first before we can look for solutions. It's a great group of people, each with their own area of expertise and their own perspective."

The group has dubbed itself the Yellow Creek SWAT -- Storm Water Advisory Team.

Its next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17 at the village hall.




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