Urgency needed in Kinsman
It’s unfortunate that residents who lived in the area of the beautiful Kinsman Lake now will have a far less beautiful view from their porches.
But public officials are correct in their decision that the dam, created by a private association, cannot be repaired using taxpayer funds.
Still, residents who are without access to their homes need help urgently. The residents of 25 Lakeland Drive homes have been isolated for three weeks, not able to come and go from their homes.
Some have been utilizing a very unstable wooded walkway to get there and back after the only road to their houses washed away during the heavy rain and flooding July 20.
Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith puts the cost to replace the road permanently at around $1.85 million.
Indeed, that is an astronomical amount for an access road to just 25 homes. But certainly, no one can deny that the road must be built.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has returned $463,140 that was designated for other projects to go instead toward the repairs in Kinsman.
Other funds also have been made available.
On Friday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine authorized a new program to allow areas such as Kinsman to apply for funding.
Specific counties, including Trumbull, can now apply for aid through the State Disaster Relief Program for help with the severe weather incidents that occurred between April and July of this year, according to Daniel Tierney, a spokesman for DeWine’s office.
While the available funds are falling short of the estimated cost, the project must begin without delay.
Smith estimates the work will take 60 days of full access and then an additional 30 days for final restoration and cleanup.
Time is ticking, and we believe work must begin now without further delay.
As residents told their officials at a special meeting last week, they can’t go on living this way. Children will be returning to school. Elderly residents need medication, and the pathway will not work when the weather changes.
We know that Smith understands the urgency.
Now he must act to ensure these Kinsman residents are back in their houses soon and especially before approaching cold weather.
“It may take as long as several weeks before we can get the funding, but residents will see the truck and repairs soon,” Smith said last week.
The county engineer must move forward with the utmost urgency.