By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport is assessing the damage caused by the torrential rains of mid-July.
“We have at least $200,000 in water damage to city property,” said Groveport Finance Director Jeff Green, who added the city will file a claim with its insurance company in regards to the damage.
Green said the city-owned Links at Groveport Golf Course sustained the bulk of the water damage as Walnut Creek spilled out of its banks and heavily flooded the course. He said the full extent of the damage to the golf course and other city parks is still not known because, “There’s so much mud.”
“In all my years I’ve never seen the flooding like we recently experienced,” said Mayor Lance Westcamp.
Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert noted that she has seen worse in her lifetime, “In 1958 the town was completely isolated by flood waters.”
Golf Director Tom Walker said only golf holes 2, 3, 4, and 5 at The Links at Groveport did not flood. He said the suspension golf cart bridge on hole 7 suffered “quite a bit of damage.”
He added the bridge’s abutment on the north bank has eroded and needs stabilization.
“It could fail if we have another major flood,” said Walker.
Elsewhere on the golf course, Walker said most of the greens handled the high water, but the fairways need work. He said four rebuilt bunkers were “trashed” by the water.
“We’re going to lose some turf, but we have a good maintenance crew,” said Walker. “We’ll get it back. We’ll get there. It’s not the first time the course has gone through something like this. We recovered in the past and we’ll recover now.”
Councilman Shawn Cleary told Walker and his crew to, “Take your time. We don’t want to open back up too fast and damage this beautiful golf course.”
Other city parks also flooded, including Heritage Park’s lower parking lot and stage as well as part of the community garden. Palm Pond was so high that it filled the large basin surrounding it. City Administrator Marsha Hall said the park’s stage will be checked for structural and electrical damage.
The walking path and softball/baseball diamonds in Groveport Park were also submerged, but city officials said damage there does not appear severe.
Parks and Facilities Management Director Tom Byrne said the city’s buildings were not damaged by flood waters, but a lot of city landscaping and flowers were lost.
According to Public Works Superintendent Dennis Moore, the city’s stormwater infrastructure held up alright in the watery onslaught.
“You have to remember, we had 5 inches of rain in less than a week,” said Moore. “That’s a lot of water.”
City Engineer Steve Farst said that Groveport is situated at the lower end of the Walnut Creek watershed, which makes the Groveport area prone to flooding.
Cleary expressed concerns that lingering standing pools of flood water in the city could lead to a large outbreak of mosquitos. Hall said Franklin County handles mosquito control and should be able to address the situation as needed.
In written reports to council, Byrne and Recreation Director Kyle Lund both noted that the recent frequent electrical power outages in the city have damaged mechanical systems at the Groveport Recreation Center. Byrne said repairs are being made.