Council conducts discussion on last month’s flooding

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Pictured is a room at Montgomery Family Dental with damage from last month’s flooding. Katie Montgomery, DDS, who owns the business, showed Marysville City Council photos of damage to her business at Monday’s council meeting.
(Image submitted)
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One of the biggest discussions at Monday night’s Marysville City Council meeting was about last month’s flooding, both the damage and what the city is doing for the future.
On June 21, more than 5 inches of rain fell between 3 and 11:30 p.m., swamping much of Union County.
Katie Montgomery, a dentist who owns Montgomery Family Dental on Columbus Avenue, spoke to council about her plight. She said last month’s rains caused extensive damage to her business.
Montgomery said she’s been at the location for about 18 months, and said she’s been concerned about standing water near the building after heavy rains. She said she’s been in contact with City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt about the problem for much of that time.
A Columbus Avenue project to help the storm water situation is already in the 2019 budget, and she encouraged council to keep it there.
Montgomery said the rains last month resulted in “devastating” flooding for her building. She said about 10 inches of water ran through her building.
“I had extensive damage to walls, doors, carpet,” she said.
She said her computers and other expensive equipment were “fried.” Overall, she said the flood cost her about $150,000 in damage.
“Insurance has paid some, but not nearly enough,” she said. “I will recover this time, but the problem is that this will happen again and my small businesses cannot handle another flood like this.”
Officials said the types of rain that occurred last month happen about once every 20 years. However, those heavy rains have a silver lining in that they expose weaknesses in the city’s storm water system.
In an interview, Hoyt said the city can begin planning significant storm water improvements.
“We can see where we need projects now,” he said.
Hoyt referred to the heavy rain as a “great tutorial.” He said part of the problem stems from smaller neighborhoods having systems designed for three or four-year events.
Investing in larger capacity systems would be money wasted “99 percent of the time.”
Since last month, Hoyt said the city is coming up with the top five storm water-related projects to focus on in the near future.
Hoyt cited Columbus Avenue and Adena Pointe as confirmed problem areas. He said he knows Square Drive was flooded also.
Montgomery went on to say the flooding has harmed her patients as well. Clients that might have emergency dental needs couldn’t see her when she was closed for a couple weeks after the rains.
“My patients, the people who live in Marysville, are truly the ones who suffer,” she said.
She said her neighbors have experienced heavy flooding, too. She showed a video of a neighboring business flooding during those heavy rains.
She said while she’s excited about the Marysville’s growth as a city, the city needs to focus more on infrastructure to support that growth.
“Infrastructure is not being taken care of properly,” she said. “Businesses like mine will get fed up.”
Montgomery said when she purchased the building, she’d approached the previous owner with concerns about flooding. She said the previous owner acknowledged that there were high-water problems, but said heavy floods don’t happen often.
“I’ve been there two years, and I cannot tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve had,” she said. “It’s happened so many times. The water reaches the parking lot routinely.”
Last month was the first time the water had caused so much damage.
Hoyt said the reason the county, and by extension the city, floods is because it’s so flat. The more slope there is, the easier it is for water to drain.
“Water’s just going to sit,” he said. “Think of it as a water slide. If it’s flat, you’re not sliding anywhere.”
Hoyt also noted that when Mill Creek floods, it’s because of rain upstream, rather than rain in Marysville itself.
The system in place near Montgomery’s business consists of pipe that runs underground along the businesses and railroad tracks in that area. Andrako said it’s, “old and blown out.”
The city does not have access to the easements behind the businesses, but hopes to acquire them and install a larger drainage system.
Andrako said another problem is a line that goes under the railroad behind Montgomery Family Dental that drains to Wal-Mart’s drainage system. All the drainage from businesses along that stretch of road funnels to this line.
“It can’t handle all the storm water from everywhere in that area,” Andrako said.
The city wants to install another line under the train tracks, which would funnel into Wal-Mart’s higher-capacity drainage system and eventually toward U.S. 33.
He said the city plans to do a rainwater study this year, with the improvements taking place in 2019. He said the city could start immediately after they receive a permit from CSX to dig under the train tracks.
Officials asked if there was any way the project could be moved up. Hoyt reiterated that the city is at the mercy of CSX.
“Their permitting process isn’t nearly as quick as one would like,” Hoyt said. “To even have that happen this year is going to be very tricky on their end.”



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