SHEFFIELD TWP. — Denise Szabo-Ortiz worries when it rains.
Szabo-Ortiz’s basement at 4220 Clifton Ave. has flooded twice since 2011 despite two sump pumps and a backup electrical generator there. When up to five inches of rain fell on Lorain County in an intense May 12 thunderstorm, Szabo-Ortiz said she sustained $15,000 in damage including losing a new furnace, hot water tank, and washer and dryer.
State Farm Insurance covered $10,000 of the damage, but Szabo-Ortiz said company officials canceled her policy two weeks ago for filing two claims within three years. Szabo-Ortiz said she’s frustrated, but glad to hear the Board of Trustees is proposing building a retention pond to reduce flooding.
“I’m hopeful the township does something,” she said. “If there’s a problem, they always try to fix it.”
Trustees Tim Mihalcik, Dave Newsome and Chad Parsons on Monday agreed to relinquish about 25 acres of township property for the pond. The pond would be located behind the Sheffield Township Administrative Building, 5166 Clinton Ave., between Garfield and Grant avenues.
The proposal is in response to hundreds of residents regularly having their homes flooded in heavy rainstorms, Newsome said. Newsome said he suggested the proposal to alleviate flooding in the township, which has about 4,100 residents.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to help our residents and the surrounding community as well,” he said. “No one deserves to be flooded out every time we get a hard rain.”
Newsome said members of the Lorain County Engineer’s Office have been invited to the township board meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 4 to discuss drawing up plans for the depth and width of the pond. He said he plans to contact the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to seek approval for the project and secure funding.
The trustees said in a news release they would seek federal, state or local taxpayer money to pay for the project. Newsome said he was unsure how much the pond would cost to build, but if money can be found, he hopes it will be completed by next summer.
Besides reducing flooding in the township, the pond would benefit South Lorain. Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer said he supports building the pond and discussed it with county officials earlier this month.
“We feel it’s one of the projects that’s most ready in terms of the impact it could make in a positive way for both Sheffield and Elyria townships, as well as the city of Lorain,” he said. “We could all potentially throw some money together to fund it.”