Barberton asks for state, federal help following floods

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BARBERTON, Ohio-- We need help.

That’s the message from Barberton Mayor William Judge after severe flooding last week and more rain Monday night.

At the first city council meeting since 3 inches of rain fell in a short amount of time causing widespread problems, the mayor told FOX 8 he has reached out to Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine.

“We need help... Whether the governor can do something with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers or FEMA can step in," Judge said. “I don’t believe one singular action will solve this, but dredging the Tuscarawas River and Wolf Creek would really help.”

Over the years, Wolf Creek has been problematic and caused some of the worst flooding on 14th Street Northwest. Last week, some homes there had up to 6 feetof water in their basements.

“It’s overwhelming,” Linda Hayhurst said. “And I’ve been through it so many times.”

Leaders of several other cities along the Tuscarawas joined Mayor Judge in seeking relief including Copley Township, Norton, Canal Fulton, Clinton and New Franklin.

“We’re all affected by it so we need help,” Judge said.

The storms caused widespread flooding across several counties, but Barberton was hit especially hard.

“We’re a low lying area, but we also have about 243-square miles that drains into Barberton so to take on what falls on us and also what drains here is a larger quantity of water,” Judge said.

The city has begun implementing a plan that includes cleaning out the sewer system, adding additional storm drains and expanding retention ponds, but the mayor said dredging and expanding Wolf Creek would cost far more than they can afford. Some estimates to fix all of the problems are around $24 million.

In the mean time, the city is focused on helping residents affected by the flooding by putting out Dumpsters and sanitizing basements.

More than 100 residents picked up incident reports, which the city is waiting to get back so they can see what else needs to be done. The mayor is encouraging everyone to return them quickly so that they can address all of the current issues; while also really hoping it stops raining for awhile.

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