PARMA, Ohio (WJW) – For years, homeowners and residents in certain parts of Parma have experienced recurring flooding in their basements. Now the city is moving forward with its plans to fix the problem by utilizing a grant from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency through FEMA.
The City of Parma is receiving a $1.6 million grant to purchase homes from residents that are in flood zones, then the homes will be demolished and returned to green spaces.
“This is a voluntary program, we reach out to the residents, we go through some pretty good length to try and reach out to the residents who have experienced flooding over the course of many years of them living in these homes,” Parma Director of Public Service Tony Vannello said.
Vannello said 31 homes have been initially identified for the program and so far, eight homeowners are opting into the program. They are expected to receive fair-market value to escape this recurring problem.
“We’re very passionate, and compassionate about flooding problems in the city and looking for ways to correct them,” he said. “Mayor Tim DeGeeter has been very big on tasking us with trying to find solutions in this area where homes flood.”
Fox 8 went door-to-door to speak with homeowners in the Baldwin Creek Street Corridor to get their opinions on the problem and proposed solution.
“It’s gone over my bridge, which has been a little crazy because it’s pretty deep because it goes way down there, but it gets pretty high,” Parma resident Seth Swanner said.
Swanner is leasing his home, but said he’s already experienced flooding several times since moving in. Now he and his wife are considering leaving the neighborhood.
“We actually talked about it this morning, my wife and I, about potentially approaching the landlord and saying, hey listen, all this stuff is happening, maybe we kill the lease and do something different while we can plan for it,” he said.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is matching 10 percent of the local share cost to Parma.
“There is no cost to the city of Parma residents,” Vannello said.
The program is in the appraisal stage right now, but the goal is to have the project completed by the end of 2024.
“I’m hopeful that a good majority of these property owners that have participated in this program will continue to participate in this program and find that the value of their homes is exactly what they’re looking for,” Vannello said.