Engineer seeks $1M to help clean up Kinsman
KINSMAN — Officials in Trumbull County are working on a long-term plan to restore access and fix infrastructure affected by flooding, and a temporary solution to help people in Kinsman get back to their properties to collect some belongings, get access to their vehicles and dispose of food left behind in freezers and refrigerators since Saturday.
Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith said his office has a plan ready to restore the earthen embankment on Lakeview Drive, but would like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look it over before proceeding.
If work to rebuild the wall begins and water starts to collect in Kinsman Lake, it could cause greater strain to other parts of the dam that may be already under pressure, Smith said.
In addition, if money is secured from the state soon, a secondary embankment with a temporary gravel access road to the cut-off homes could be built by the weekend, Smith said.
The linchpin is the funding commitment.
“It’s still up in the air. In order to get moving, I would want a $1 million commitment,” Smith said Monday.
The road would let residents get back to the homes and remove their stranded vehicles. After the vehicles are out, the road use would be limited to all-terrain vehicles, bicycles and pedestrian traffic.
About 25 people attended a Kinsman trustees meeting Monday to hear about efforts to restore access to the area and support the residents affected.
Trustee Chairman Greg Leonhard said over the weekend several state and county officials inspected the dam site and Lakeview Drive area, where the road collapsed leaving more than 20 properties isolated on the other side of Kinsman Lake. There is only one road in and out of the area.
“We need to let state officials and professionals see what they can do first with getting funding. I understand two days is already too much for the people who live back there and need their vehicles to get to work,” Leonhard said,
State Sen. Sean J. O’Brien has spoken with representatives in Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and to Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, who toured the damage on Sunday. In addition, state Rep. Michael J. O’Brien, D-Warren, plans to meet with Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, today regarding funding help.
“We’re obviously trying to get the funding secured as quickly as possible,” said Sen. O’Brien, D-Bazetta. “The problem is there isn’t a million dollars sitting there saying come get me.”
U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Bainbridge, and perhaps U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are expected to send representatives to meet with trustees 9 a.m. Wednesday at the dam site, Leonhard said.
Trustee Vice Chairwoman Linda Miller said she didn’t have any luck turning up funding in conversations with the Ohio Public Works Commission and Army Corp of Engineers.
“Our goal now is to get a declared state of emergency,” Miller said.
Solid waste in the lake will need to be removed too, Miller said Frank Migliozzi, executive director of the Trumbull County Combined Health District, told her.
The affected residents need to get into their homes to remove trash and items that were in their refrigerators and freezers when the power went off for two days, Miller said.
“We want to get residents back to their homes so they can turn things off and get rid of what they need to and also get what else they may need,” Miller said.
Dumpsters will be provided to the residents, and the township administration will reach out to 20 people on a list to notify them when the dumpsters are available, Miller said. The township will provide safety service staff to assist when the time comes to go back to the properties, she said. The township will offer assistance with wells on the properties that may have been affected, Miller said.
Trustee Fred Stahl said many individuals, churches and groups want to send donations to help flood victims.
Resident Kyndel Miller suggested residents collect food and clothing items and get donations.
Officials said they will look into where monetary donations and nonperishable goods can be sent.
“This flooding affected many people in our community. Some of these people may not be able to get back to their homes in three or four months because of the destruction of the road. We need to help them. This is a unique community that comes together,” Kyndel Miller said.
Resident Gary Kidd said many local churches and Scouting groups have come together to help.
“There were Scouts who gave up their camporee event to come to Kinsman and help the flood victims,” he said.
Ginny Pasha, president of the Trumbull County United Way, said this weekend the United Way recognized the value emergency responders provide, and recognized the services provided by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other nonprofit groups.
Trustees said they plan to recognize all the safety forces and first responders during a future meeting.
Also on Monday, DeWine declared a state of emergency for Trumbull County and 62 other counties, including Mahoning, but the proclamation isn’t related to Saturday’s foul weather and flash floods.
Instead, it’s related to weather events in June, meaning another declaration would be needed for the weekend damage, according to Sen. O’Brien.
The proclamation opens the door for the Ohio Department of Transportation and local governments to access federal emergency relief funds needed to help fix roads damaged by weather.
Report flood damage
The Trumbull County Emergency Management Agency is requesting residents of Greene. Gustavus and Kinsman that sustained damage to their properties from the flooding Saturday to report it.
Linda Beil, TCEMA director, said residents are to call 211, the Call Help Network of Northeast Ohio, to report the damage. She said residents need to leave their name, address, contact number and type of damage.