By Amanda Ensinger
A local community is giving back to those in need by donating material from homes that are being demolished.
At a recent meeting, the Prairie Township trustees agreed to allow Habitat for Humanity to remove usable items from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) project houses acquired by the township.
“The materials removed will be used for future Habitat for Humanity projects or sold in their retail store,” said Rob Peters, township administrator.
The township accepted a $1 payment for the materials from Habitat for Humanity. All the profits from the materials sold in Habitat’s retail store will be used toward future new homes the organization builds for families in need.
The homes being torn down are part of a project the township is working on to prevent flooding. The township won a FEMA grant that was used to purchase and demolish several homes in a floodplain.
“After the property is demolished, the land will be rehabbed to try to reduce flooding in the area,” Peters said. “Because these properties are in a floodplain, they can never be developed again.”
The properties include several homes on Tamara Road, as well as a property on Alton Road and on Elnora Road.
“After demolition, the properties will be maintained as green spaces,” Peters said. “We will look at if the properties can be used to cut off access to where the flooding is.”
This grant came after years of residents complaining about ongoing flooding in their homes. In 2018, several residents attended a trustees meeting where they asked for something to be done.
“I have had flooding numerous times at my home on Tamara Avenue,” said George Polling, township resident. “I don’t know what to do at this point and am on the verge of selling my home. I don’t want to, but I can’t keep dealing with this.”
Resulting in several feet of water every time a heavy rainstorm passes through, residents also complained of not being able to park on their vehicles on the street because the water gets so high they can’t get out.
At the time, Prairie Township officials said if the homes were demolished, the properties could be used to help relieve flooding on the road using grading, rain gardens and maybe more structural features.
“We hope this will provide these residents with some relief and fix the street flooding for other residents,” Peters said. “It is rare for any floodplain to be declared in Ohio, so we are excited for this victory. It has been a long time coming.”
In other news, the board discussed a dramatic increase in overtime for the fire department. Prairie Township Fiscal Officer Sherry Henning asked the board to approve reallocating $25,000 in the fire fund from the salaries line for overtime for the department.
“Overtime has been unusually high due to extended illness and injuries within the department,” Henning said. “The chief expects overtime to return to normal levels within the next couple of months.”
Prairie Township Fire Chief Allen Scott asked the board to renew the annual training agreement with OhioHealth Doctors Hospital. This agreement allows emergency room residents to train with township medic crews.
“We let the doctors ride along with us and it is great training,” Scott said. “We have a great relationship with the hospital and would love to continue this partnership.”
The board approved allowing the training to continue in 2021.