You’ve all heard the old saying, “I’ve got some good news and some bad news.” The good news first. Summer is finally here and the construction of the historic Euclid Beach Pier is going strong at Euclid Beach Park. Work will continue on this long-awaited project the remainder of the year, according to our partners, the Cleveland Metroparks. In addition, the Friday night concert series on the lake will resume once again starting June 1st at 6:00 p.m. and continue to run throughout the summer. Please join us for some incredible music on the lake right here in our own community. More good news. The Cleveland Clinic purchased the former Sodexo Laundry facility at 15300 S. Waterloo Road at East 152nd Street. They have partnered with Evergreen Cooperative to operate the complex which will supply laundry and linen for all Cleveland Clinic hospitals and medical offices. Evergreen and the Clinic have been working with my office and plan to invest substantially in new equipment and ramping up employment and job opportunities. This is exciting news for our community, especially for the historic Collinwood Yard Industrial Park.
Now, the bad news. Early evening on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at around 4:00 p.m., the Northshore Collinwood area and beyond, was hit with a massive rainstorm. In less than 45 minutes, approximately 2.0 plus inches of rain fell. Countless homes, businesses and institutions experienced severe basement flooding. Some of which had never been flooded before. The area of flooding ran from East 200th Street to the lake, and as far west as East 140th Street. The affected area was massive and damage was inflicted on far too many properties.
To add to this misery was the fact that over the last several years, millions of dollars have been spent on storm water-related sewer projects and retention facilities. This included new and rebuilt storm sewers on many streets in the neighborhood. It goes without saying that all of us who were affected by flooded basements know the rainfall was unreal. That’s a fact! However, the real question we are all asking is why was the flooding so widespread and severe? What I witnessed first-hand being out that evening was the following: during the rainstorm, Euclid Creek rose to flood stage, thereby preventing storm water to exit through the outfalls along the creek. In addition, the pump house at Lakeshore Boulevard at the creek, was at capacity! Furthermore, the major outfall at East Park and Dorchester Drives, at the lake, was clogged with storm debris thereby causing a major backup to the entire sewer system west of Lakeshore Boulevard and the Neff Road outfall at the lake was flowing but restricted once again, by storm debris. The most critical component during this whole episode was the fact that the new Lakeshore Boulevard Storm Sewer that was constructed by the Northeast Regional Sewer District (NEORSD), along with the Euclid Creek Tunnel Storm Retention facility, which was completed well over one year ago, were not operational. So, when you combine all of these factors with the amount of rainfall, it created the perfect storm for disaster.
NEORSD stated in The Plain Dealer on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, “that they could not activate the sewers due to a major problem they have experienced with the new pump house in Bratenahl Village along I-90 because of severe vibrations coming from the pumps themselves when activated.” They believe the problems will be rectified by late July of this year. It is very clear to me that until these major sewers come online, we will continue to run the risk of major basement flooding. I would advise all affected property owners to be very mindful of this fact. For all of our basements are at continued risk until these critical projects are activated and completed.
So what else can be done to help address this problem besides ongoing intense maintenance of the outfalls and system itself? The City of Cleveland’s Water Pollution Control (WPC), the Department of Public Utilities, and my office, have been meeting trying to come up with an action plan. As a result, on Monday, May 14, 2018, City Council passed Ordinance No. 422-18, earmarking approximately $8.8 million to install a new storm sewer along East 185th Street from Pawnee Avenue, south to Marcella Road, then north to Lakeshore Boulevard. This project, which I sponsored, is designed to move storm water out of the neighborhood at a much quicker pace along the entire East 185th Street corridor and beyond. This project should commence in late 2019 and will be tunnel-bored vs. open trench, thereby permitting traffic to move more freely during the construction phase and having less of an impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood.
At the end of the day, millions of dollars are being spent to address basement flooding in the Ward and water quality issues along our lakefront. I am committed to doing everything I can to tackle this horrific problem which has affected so many families and businesses alike. We cannot rebuild our neighborhood and move forward with severe and ongoing basement flooding. We collectively have to come up with a plan that makes sense and addresses the problem.
I don’t have to tell anyone that the grass is growing. If there is a property on your street, whether occupied or unoccupied, where the grass is uncut and taller than eight (8) inches, please call the Mayor’s Action Center at 664-2900 to report the address.
I look forward to seeing you at our summer events which are all listed on the Scoop on Summer guide which is being distributed in the neighborhood and available at local establishments.
As always, I can be reached at 216-664-4236 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Michael D. Polensek
Michael D. Polensek
Resident of neighborhood since 1956. Worked on East 185th street since 1970.