Rootstown: 'Sandy' floodwaters still surround neighborhood

7:09 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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ROOTSTOWN TOWNSHIP -- People move to East Muzzy Lake to live on the water. But now, six weeks after Superstorm Sandy, they're concerned that floodwaters just aren't going away.

"Water. Lots and lots of water," said Carol Weigard. For forty some days and counting, what was once yard for people living along East Muzzy Lake has been waterfront.

"At this point, we're a little panicked because we're heading into a season of more rain, snow, liquid," said Weigard.

"Something has to be done. These houses are getting flooded. We need to figure out what's going on, what's the problem, how to fix it," said Gabe Rizzo.

While the neighborhood is prone to flooding, Superstorm Sandy's rains never receded. Why? City of Ravenna engineers have spent more than 100 hours in research.

"It was the culmination of a lot of things that happened at one time. We had all the rain from Sandy," said Mayor Joe Bica. "You have beavers, you have swamp levels, you have outlets that are congested with cattails and sediments. You have a lot of different things."

The problem now has many homeowners worried as winter arrives -- how to get rid of this flood?

"It's like a giant game of kick the can. Of who really is responsible for what to do and how to pay for it," said Weigard.

While the homes are in a private development in Rootstown Township, the lake is city property. The county and the Ohio Department of Transportation are also involved.

Two homeowners associations and city leaders have agreed to a few solutions -- expanding undersized culverts to help the area drain naturally.

But in the short term, they'll be sharing the cost of large diesel pumps.

"At least to do that, and move a lot of water before it starts to freeze. I think that's the biggest things we're concerned about," said Mayor Bica.

"If this freezes while it's still in people's crawl spaces, in the garages, they're homes will be ruined," said Weigard.

They hope to start the pumps maybe by Friday and clear out this water in the next week.

Ravenna engineers believe that the natural water course can work effectively if it's clear and the overall water levels are not too high.

But city officials are considering even a future plan to develop a spillway and dedicated channel to nearby Breakneck Creek and, eventually, the Cuyahoga River.     


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