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Boardman meetings get flooding project flowing

Two public entitites took the first steps Tuesday in relieving flooding problems for 1,400 township residents.

The Boardman Board of Education and the ABC Water and Storm Water Utility District approved a transfer agreement where ABC would take over 14.6 acres of the Market Street school property. A second agreement would allow the utility district five years to build a park in efforts to ease area flooding.

The park formation is being called the Forest Lawn Park Agreement.

The school board first met to unanimously approve the agreement, then the utility district board members signed off on it.

Afterward, both boards and other officials held an informational meeting to showcase what will happen next.

“This project will bring a lot of opportunities,” school board President Vickie Davis said. “There is an opportunity for outside classrooms.”

Davis said the district will still own the western section of the property that fronts Market Street, which eventually can be sold.

“This will improve the lives of 1,400 residents who have been impacted by storm water,” Boardman trustee Tom Costello said. “We have been able to work so well with the ABC District, the Board of Education and State Rep. Al Cutrona.”

Cutrona, who was able to secure $500,000 for the project from the 2020 state capital budget, said the money is going to an important cause.

“This is absolutely necessary to reduce flooding in this area,” Cutrona said. “In 2022, I anticipate bringing back more funds for the second phase.”

Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti was also on hand, saying county government wants to participate in the project.

“We are well aware of the flooding issues,” he said. “This is a project we would like to participate in with financial contributions when the final costs come in.”

The first phase will include demolishing the school building, then opening up two 60-inch stormwater pipes to form a winding stream on the property. The stream and bordering area would allow for the retention of a football field-sized pond that would allow for slower flow, thus reducing flood waters.

Information provided noted the floodplain area could hold up to nine feet of water.

The project will also include the formation of Forest Lawn Stormwater Park, with trails, a pollinator garden and security cameras to make for a safe environment to enjoy the great outdoors, officials said. The paths in the public park would be 10-feet wide and one-third mile long. The width would permit access to emergency vehicles if needed.

The first step of the project would include an asbestos inspection of the old school before demolition can begin. The project is expected to be completed by 2023 with costs totaling $3 million.

The entire plan will be on the township’s web- site and will have a link on the Boardman schools website.

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