November 21, 2014

Medina
Intermittent clouds
20°F

Despite project, Healy Creek still will leak

BRUNSWICK — A grant will fully fund the restoration of Healy Creek in Venus Park, but it won’t do much to alleviate the flooding concerns of local residents.

City Engineer Ryan Cummins hosted a public meeting Thursday to detail plans for the $390,800 project intended to improve the water quality in Healy Creek before it enters Rocky Fork Creek and later Lake Erie.

The project will widen the Healy Creek bed to create a larger floodplain and allow minerals and nutrients to be absorbed by local plants that will be added along the shore.

“This won’t address the flooding to the west,” Cummins said. “That’s not the intent of the project.”

The restoration project is funded by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District with money from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Restoration Sponsor Program.

The city also is working with the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, which oversees the Rocky River watershed region. The district estimates about 250 tons of sediment is generated by the erosion in Venus Park and downstream of it.

“What we have in the area of Venus Park are a lot of paved areas,” Cummins explained. “And that water is moving a lot faster across those surfaces than it would in a natural environment.”

The swift-moving water has created a deep V-shaped creek through Venus Park that’s about 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

According to the plan, the south side of the creek will be excavated to allow for the larger floodplain, and rocks will be added along the creek bed to slow the flow of water.

“We’ll be putting in rock croppings, which will take some of the velocity out of the water,” Cummins said. “It will also allow nitrogen and phosphorus to drop out of the water.”

Cummins said the plants to be added will absorb and use nitrogen and phosphorus, making the water quality better as it leaves the park.

But owners of properties that surround the city park hoped the excavation work would bring some flooding relief.

“What are you going to do about the flooding?” shouted a few of the residents in attendance, who said flooding issues has been reported to the west of Venus Park along Starview Drive and Claythorn Place.

Cummins said he and other city officials are aware of the flooding but have few resources to address the problem. He said the city applied for two grants to address the flooding, but was not awarded either one.

“We submitted a grant just recently to excavate the area with the flooding problem, but it was unsuccessful,” he said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t keep trying.”

Councilman Dave Coleman, 3rd Ward, who represents the Venus Park area, said there’s no money in the budget to pay for the design work, and many of the problem areas along the creek are on private property, which would require the city to buy land or get an easement to do the work.

“We have other projects that require every last dime in our budget,” he said.

Cummins said the Venus Park restoration project will get under way in September and should be completed within two to three months.

He said work crews only will use public property to access the park.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.