Recent flooding puts Port Clinton in the money

PORT CLINTON A recent downpour in Port Clinton may have contributed to a flood of federal funding.
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010

PORT CLINTON

A recent downpour in Port Clinton may have contributed to a flood of federal funding.

Port Clinton Mayor Debbie Hymore-Tester said she was notified Tuesday the city has made the Ohio Department of Environmental Protection list of cities receiving federal stimulus money for sewer projects.

"I've been dancing around all day," Hymore-Tester said after Tuesday's city council meeting.

The city is in line to receive $1.57 million -- half the total cost of a project that will include the installation of storm sewers on five blocks of Third Street, a new storm water pump station, relining of the existing combination sewers and a new water line.

The stimulus money is what Hymore-Tester called a "forgiven loan," meaning the city would not have to pay it back. She said the remainder of the $3.1 million project would come from other grant and loan programs.

The mayor said the city may have received a bump in its standing on the OEPA list because of heavy rains that flooded the city late last month.

She said city safety service director Rob Berner took pictures of the flooding and sent them to OEPA to be considered with their application.

Prior to the flooding, Hymore-Tester said the city was running in the middle of the pack for funding.

Whatever caused the money to be approved, the result will be improved drainage in the city, resulting in less basement and street flooding. It will also eliminate the combined sewer overflow currently in use, which will improve water quality in the Portage River.

In other business:

* Several residents received commendations for service to the city. They included Ottawa Sheriff's deputy Jody Royster and Port Clinton police Sgt. Rob Hickman, who entered a burning apartment building in January, trying to save a toddler thought to be inside. The child was later found safe with neighbors.

* Council heard the first reading of an ordinance allowing Berner to purchase a building for bathroom facilities at Lakeview Park. Councilman Jeff Morgan questioned the $219,000 cost of the project, which he said was "exorbitant" for what is being built. Hymore-Tester said 80 percent of the project has been funded through grants and donations. Councilman Glenn Chapman called the building "ugly," and said it would be worthwhile to spend additional money for a nicer facility.