BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
Plans for a proposed stormwater park at the site of the now vacant Market St. Elementary School were boosted this week when Boardman Township was informed some $1.2 million in disaster mitigation grant monies could be used for the project, pending final approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).Cost of the project has been estimated to be near $3 million, and if the FEMA grant gains final approval, almost all of the funding for the project could come from grant monies, Township Administrator Jason Loree said this week.
Already Boardman Township has been notified it will receive $1 million for the project from the Mahoning County Commissioners, as well as an Ohio capital grant of $500,000, and an Ohio H2O grant for $300,000.
“We have undertaken extensive studies for this project and after we complete asbestos surveys for the school building, if all goes well, we hope to raze the building this summer,” Loree said.
Not connected to the razing of the school building, but a part of the township’s overall stormwater abatement plans is razing several houses north of Market St. School in an effort to improve water flows in the Cranberry Run watershed during peak water events.
“Our road superintendent, Marilyn Kenner, has done an excellent job in procuring grants for these demolitions,” Loree said.
When completed, the Forest Lawn Stormwater Park will be a 14.6-acre green space on the property of the former elementary school that will be designed to improve surface water flows impacting up to 1,400 homes.
It will include the creation of a passive park where people can gather and walk along a lighted sidewalk, complete with security cameras, as well as the entire site will be re-forested with appropriate plantings.
Once completed, during heavy rainfalls, the project will be able to hold up to the equivalent of 9-feet of water (an estimated one million gallons) spread over the surface the size of a football field.
This article was republished with the permission of the Boardman News.