Boardman stormwater park gets $2.1M grant

BOARDMAN — The Forest Lawn Stormwater Park, at the site of the closed Market Street Elementary School, is receiving $2,165,400 in federal funding as part of an effort to reduce flooding in Boardman.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency announced the grant Thursday.

FEMA will pay 90 percent of the project with the remaining funds coming from the township.

A current underground stormwater and sewer system will be replaced by the township and the stormwater park will be developed with Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program funds from the COVID-19 disaster declaration nearly three years ago, according to FEMA. HMGP provides funding to implement long-term solutions to specific disaster risks, according to FEMA.

“The township is very grateful for all the state and federal support for the Forest Lawn Stormwater Park,” Township Administrator Jason Loree said. “This project will be transformative for the area and will help alleviate flooding for our community as we continue to look for ways to improve our stormwater infrastructure.”

Parts of the township have experienced years of extensive flooding after heavy rains. Those areas include Boardman Plaza and surrounding businesses and neighborhoods, the Ridgewood Estates section near Cranberry Run Creek and residential areas on and near Shields Road, Market Street and Southern Boulevard.

The project will extend the storm sewer pipe and create an underground basin and stormwater park. The park will expand available stormwater storage from an existing 93,500 cubic feet to 556,500 cubic feet and mitigate flooding for downstream residents.

Also, the project includes green infrastructure including a community rain garden that will increase the water quality.

The parcel, about 16 to 17 acres in size, is where the former Market Street Elementary School was located at 5555 Market St. The school, built in the 1950s, was closed in 2019 and is supposed to be demolished this year.

There will be a pavilion as well as a learning laboratory and outdoor classroom on two or three acres the school district owns. A $750,000 state capital budget award is paying for the pavilion as well as building walking paths.

The rest of the site, which the ABC Stormwater District owns, is to be reforested and converted largely to a park with a detention system able to hold more than 1 million gallons of runoff and other water.

“By choosing to replace older underground infrastructure using nature-based solutions, communities like Boardman Township can create beautiful public areas for residents to enjoy while reducing future flood risk,” Tom Sivak, FEMA’s regional administrator, said.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, said the funding will help Boardman “better serve the community with improved flood control.”


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