Officials: Millions of dollars, time needed for clean up in Kinsman

KINSMAN — With 55 people evacuated from their homes and nearly $3 million in damages caused by heavy flooding Saturday, township, county and state officials said they are working on plans to make necessary improvements as quickly as possible.

At least one home on Kinsman Pymatuning Road has been ruled a total loss, and others in Kinsman will be closed for long periods of time for repairs, officials said.

Officials gathered Sunday at township hall to discuss what is planned and also toured areas of the community hit hardest by the flooding, including a bridge and roadway off Lakeview Drive that collapsed.

State Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, said the flooding caused a lot of damage but no loss of life.

Besides people, 30 animals were evacuated from more than 30 homes that were cut off when the Lakeview Drive bridge collapsed.

“The first responders did a phenomenal job evacuating 55 people in 2.5 hours. Everyone working together made this happen,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said he has been in contact with the governor’s office to see what programs and funding are available to help.

“We understand it will take a significant amount of money,” he said.

Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said he came to Kinsman to see the damage firsthand and see what can be done.

“The damage is significant and a lot of people are impacted. We are ready at the state level to work with the local government to try and get this fixed as soon as possible. There are funds available in the state budget for emergency and disaster relief,” Obhof said.

Rep. Michael O’Brien, D-Warren, said it is hard to believe what can happen with two hours of heavy rain.

He said Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith and engineers have been assessing the infrastructure damage.

“The people in Columbus have been reached and are going to help us rebuild what Kinsman has enjoyed for years,” Michael O’Brien said.

Smith said in addition to the loss of the Lakeview Drive dam, 12 other infrastructures were damaged in the northern parts of Kinsman, as well as in Greene and Gustavus townships. Repair costs will be between $2.5 million and $3 million, he said.

Smith said crews have been doing repair work on roads. He said the county will seek Ohio Public Works funds to help residents.

“Our goal is to get infrastructure back in place as timely as we possibly can,” Smith said.

The timeline for fixing the bridge depends on resources and funds provided.

“With the appropriate amount of financial assistance, we will be able to mobilize very quickly. We can also work extended hours on the area that has been cut off,” Smith said.

Trustee Chairman Greg Leonhard said many people from the community have volunteered their time to help.

“Our emergency services all came together from different communities and accomplished much to help people in Kinsman,” he said.

Trustee Vice Chair Linda Miller said it is important to help the displaced residents. Residents who need assistance or have property damage can contact a trustee.

“We have begun lists of the property damage. We need people to provide us contact numbers so we can reach the residents of Lakeview Drive area and others who were evacuated,” Miller said.

Officials said in addition to property and road damage, they also will address crop damage to see what resources and programs are available.

Officials said they will also look at Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.