Council approves program to help with basement flooding

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By Andrea Cordle
Grove City Editor

Last month, Grove City leaders discussed implementing a wet basement program. At the Aug. 3 meeting, Grove City Council voted to approve an amended version of that program.

Council voted to set aside $200,000 for the sewer backup protection program. This program is designed to help property owners with water in their basements. It is aimed to bring older properties into city code compliance and/or provide additional protection from water in basement occurrences.

“There are 92 people who need our help,” said Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage. “Let’s get on with it.”

Stage was referring to the 92 single family properties that reported water in their basement during the March and May rain events from earlier this year. Most of these homes are in the downtown Grove City area and the flooding resulted from floor drain or storm sewer backups.

Many homes in the downtown area have seen flooding due to an aging stormwater drainage system.

“Most of the flooding occurred in areas where sewers were built before 1960,” said Cindi Fitzpatrick, the city’s service director.

According to the legislation, property owners are eligible for a grant to install a backwater prevention device, a new sump pump or sanitary service lateral repair.

“This has been an ongoing, multi-faceted project,” said Stage. “We have to manage expectations. This will not eliminate all flooding.”

The city would be responsible for all costs associated with the initial inspection and eligible improvements. If the inspection determines that improvements beyond the eligible repairs are required, the homeowner would be responsible for those costs. Applicants must be current in their real estate property taxes and must be in good standing with all local, regional, state, and federal taxing authorities.

Councilman Roby Schottke first introduced the wet basement matching grant funds program. He suggested withdrawing the legislation from the agenda to focus on the big picture.

“This is part of a much bigger problem,” said Schottke. “The (storm) sewers in certain parts (of the city) are too small and inadequate for the amount of water coming in. The sewers get filled up too quickly.”

Council did not want to withdraw the program, just revise it to the sewer backup protection program.

Council members did discuss hosting a meeting in the coming weeks to look at the bigger issue of flooding in the Grove City area. A date and time have yet to be determined.

For more information on the sewer backup protection program, call the city’s service department at 614-277-1100.

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