PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — Whenever rain is in the forecast, hundreds of people in Parma Heights stay on edge, fearing their basements might fill with water. Wednesday night, dozens attended a meeting where city leaders presented a plan to alleviate repeated flooding, but other residents believe the proposal comes at a cost.
For years, many residents of Parma Heights have complained about flooding in their homes during heavy rains.
“I’ve been a homeowner for 30 years, the first time I ever had a basement flood, and it’s very devastating. So, I certainly hope this solves a lot of the problems that we have in that area of the city,” said Parma Heights resident Kathleen Walsh.
She is among dozens of residents who attended the meeting at the Cassidy Theatre. They showed up to hear details of the city’s plan to drastically reduce flooding that often plaques the southwest part of the city during heavy rainstorms.
About two years ago,Walsh’s basement and many others flooded, damaging homes and belongings.
“After that large flood, it rained again not long after and people were two and three times flooded, so I did not get it the second or the third time,” Walsh said.
City leaders detailed a plan to create a six acre detention basin in Nathan Hale Park to gather water that can slowly be released through the city’s drainage system. But, the basin would replace a baseball diamond and several soccer fields in the 22-acre park. That is not sitting well with some residents.
“I thought that was government land for a recreation thing, now we’re gonna tear out a park…I go there every day and walk the dog and it’s full of kids and stuff, now there’s gonna be nothing,” said one resident.
“Residentially, we’re built out in the city, so that became a real challenge to find an area that we could put in a basin of this size,” said Parma Heights Mayor Michael Byrne.
Mayor Michael Byrne said the city received a $1 million grant from the regional sewer district for the $1.35 million project. He said it will be a dry basin, that would only fill with water during rainy weather.
“We’re not taking the whole park away, we’re using it for the betterment of the entire city and there’s still gonna be a park there, I believe it’s a solution,” said Walsh.
Construction on the detention basin could begin in June and should be completed by November. During the construction, all of Nathan Hale park will be closed to visitors.
The mayor said city athletic leagues are already making adjustments, and he hopes to maybe rebuild the displaced sports facilities somewhere else in the future.