Richwood Council deals with flooding concerns

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OSP Officer Brian Holden attended council’s meeting Monday night to donate his retired four-year-old drug K-9, Karo, to the Richwood Police Department. The dog retired when Officer Holden left the K-9 unit for the highway patrol recently. Since he was the handler for Karo, the dog retired with him. Village council unanimously approved the offer and thanked him. He assured council that the dog was ready to go to work.

(Richwood Gazett Photo by Sherryl Sheets)

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More than 20 residents attended the Richwood Village Council meeting Monday evening, asking what the officials planned to do about recent flooding.

Residents on Pearl Street, East Blagrove Street, West Bomford Street and Edgewood Drive all voiced their displeasure over the flooding, which they said caused thousands of dollars of damage to their homes.

Residents on Edgewood Drive took special interest in the Dudley Circle project, owned by Jason Wills Construction. Since the 1960s, the development of the Edgewood Project has seen four managers/owners involved in the building of the housing project. In an agreement with the village, it was determined that the developer must install water, storm and sewer lines, curbs and a street. Lots for houses were sold and the developer built the homes, but the paving, utility, curb and sidewalk installation was never completed.

At a meeting a few months ago, residents living on the stone street asked council when the work would ever be done. Council then set up ordinances for future development within the village.

Representatives of the village contacted developer Jason Wills to get the project started. Wills attended Monday night’s meeting to inform council of his progress.

With the many inches of rain in the past few weeks, residents in the area had water enter their homes. Some feel that if the Dudley Circle improvements had been made, some of the water would have flowed away through village tiles and would not have caused so many problems.

Wills admitted that he has had business in other areas of the state and he was planning on returning to Richwood to finish up Phase 1 and Phase 2 and get the projects completed so that he can begin development in another area of the village.

He reported that he has found several areas where the tile has blown out, or collapsed, and tried to fix them. But due to the heavy rains lately, it has slowed down the project.

Keith and Debbie Thomas have several rental properties within the village and asked what could be done about the flooding. They said it seems like the village has a problem with where the water flows and  maybe some tile needs replaced with larger ones, or unplugged. Keith Thomas asked council if it could limit anymore hookups to the storm sewer until the current problem corrected.

Mayor Scott Jerew told Thomas that council needs to contact Access Engineering, which is under contract with the village. They can ask to have a study done as to where tile is located and recommend corrective measures.

“We can’t fix what happened in the past, but we can work together for future expansion. New ordinances are in place to have infrastructures in place before building new homes,” stated Jerew.

A few residents on Pearl Street also told council that they are paying for storm sewers, but they are not hooked up to village lines. One resident said that he asked to have Pearl Street closed so that he could pump the water away from his house to relieve the flooded yard. It was closed for two days, but others complained and the road was reopened. Another resident said that they had to take sponge baths because of the flooding and could not flush their toilet for several days. They also remarked that they pay for storm sewer, but they don’t have hookups.

Council invited the residents to return in a month, after Access Engineering has time to do a study of the water flow. Many of those in attendance promised to return for that meeting.

The subject of cleaning Ash Run, Fulton Creek and the Ottawa Ditch was  also mentioned. Last year, Jerew contacted the Union Soil and Water Conservation District about the possibility of having the streams cleaned. The mayor was told that they didn’t want to clean them because they needed the foliage and downed trees and brush to help protect the wildlife. An Edgewood resident contacted the conservation district and was told just the opposite that the streams should be cleaned out. She gave the business card of her contact to Jerew and he stated he would call them first thing Tuesday morning.

Council also received a request from Agri Med, which deposited $25,000 to the village for property it had planned to buy and open a medical marijuana dispensary. The company’s request was denied by the state and it requested the return of the deposit. Council approved the first reading of a resolution to refund the money. It will take three readings before the money is returned.

Council received a surprise during the meeting when Ohio State Highway Patrolman Brian Holden offered to donate his drug K-9 to the village of Richwood. The dog, Karo, is a four-year old German Shepherd who was retired from the force after three years because his handler, Holden, was no longer in the K-9 unit. He knew that Richwood was looking to get another drug dog for the village.

Council members unanimously approved the offer and former K-9 handler, officer Eric Nicholson, was appointed the new handler, after sufficient training is done. Holden stated that Karo was getting bored at home since he was no longer working. Holden said that Karo is anxious to get out of retirement and back to work. Nicholson was the village’s handler for several years, working with officer Klink, who was put down a few months ago due to health reasons.

Council members approved a few changes in personnel. Billing Clerk Sarah Sellers, will become the Fiscal Officer/Billing Clerk for the village. Her yearly salary will be $45,800, effective July 1. She will be reporting on the village finances during council meetings and will record minutes. Timothy Goodwin, former fiscal officer, will be the assistant fiscal officer and be paid $300 for each meeting he has to attend.

In other business, council:

-Approved the reading of three ordinances requesting certification of levies by the Union County Auditor and requesting levies be placed on the ballot.

-Heard that Deb Frazier quit the park position for the village and officials will work on filling that job.

-Was told that the Chevy Impala village vehicle for the water/sewer department was damaged by flood water. An insurance adjuster was to look at this today.

-Heard from Police Chief Monte Asher that the Sports Festival last Saturday went well, but the Rock the Clock event was rained out.

-Heard that part-time police officer James Kee resigned to take a job with another department and the village will look at filling the position.

Council’s next regular meeting will be held Monday, July 8 at 7 p.m. at the village administration building, located at 153 N. Franklin St. The public is invited to attend.



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