Residents goaded city officials last night to do more to clean and enlarge storm drainage ditches despite recent spending increases for such work in some West Toledo neighborhoods.
A target of criticism was the Silver Creek drainage ditch that meanders in an easterly direction just south of Alexis Road behind Whitmer High School. About 50 residents attended the city-sponsored meeting at the Washington Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
“If they would come in and just clean the darn thing out,” pleaded Judy Greer of 6018 Herst Rd. Heavy rains that deluged the area July 29, 2000, cost her parents about $8,000 in repairs to their nearby home on Adelaide Drive because the ditch failed to function adequately.
Less severe flooding occurred in the area in May.
Designed years ago, the Silver Creek ditch has numerous sharp bends to it and is clogged with debris and overgrown vegetation, area residents said. Toledo's flat topography and poor drainage systems, installed when the area was part of Washington Township, aggravate the problem.
The city's piecemeal program to remedy the problems also was derided by a few residents.
The neighborhoods lie generally north of the Westfield Shoppingtown at Franklin Park. City officials said they lack the millions of dollars to make improvements all at once.
To the dismay of residents, one storm water project now under way will dump more water into Silver Creek. A large storm sewer line intended to help drain some West Toledo neighborhoods is being built adjacent to the Toledo Terminal Railroad near Laskey Road, between Lewis Avenue and Jackman Road.
“If you are going to use [Silver Creek] for drainage, I am already thinking about moving,” Nellie DeAnda, of Adelaide, said.
David Moebius, the city's commissioner of engineering services, conceded to another questioner that storm water enters the Silver Creek ditch from Michigan homes and businesses.
“We are moving forward on designs,” Mr. Moebius said. “Silver Creek is one area we have a push on.”
City officials said several storm-drainage projects are in the design and construction stages that eventually should keep residents on dry ground. The city now collects about $3 million a year for storm water projects from a $3.16 storm water utility charge on monthly water bills. Several years ago, it spent only about $1 million a year.
“We understand they are being hit and we want to help,” council member Tina Skeldon Wozniak, said. “We want to get to them faster.” She and council member George Sarantou hosted the session.
Improvements worth about $6 million are occurring this summer to enlarge the capacity of the Eisenbraum Ditch that traverses an area roughly bounded by Bowen Road, Westbrook Drive, Elmhurst Road, and Wyndale Road.
Separately, the city has allocated $150,000 to study ways to improve the westerly portions of the Eisenbraum Ditch, from the area of Elmhurst and Wyndale west to Talmadge Road near Oak Crest Road.