Council approves resolution for collapsed wall

EAST LIVERPOOL — With action taken Monday night by city council, funding could become available for several pending projects.

By a unanimous vote, council approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply to the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) for funding that would pay for 90 percent of the cost of remediating a wall collapse on Garfield Street.

According to Service-Safety Director Brian Allen, this will provide $300,000 in grant, not loan, funds for the project, meaning the city will not have to pay for it, as originally planned, with a State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan.

He said after the meeting the city is responsible for purchasing a house and two vacant lots that lay below the collapsing wall, as well as the cost of demolishing the house, at a total cost of $39,000, which will be paid from the street capital improvement fund, not street levy funding as some have suggested.

In addition, the city’s share of the project will be about $10,000-$15,000, he said, adding council has to determine from which fund that money will be generated.

He said afterward that, by obtaining the OPWC funding, the city will be able to use the SIB loan which had been set aside for Garfield Street to repair the deteriorated drainage system that has forced the closure of a portion of Lisbon Street for several months.

Allen told council, however, that the recent flooding had caused even more damage to the drainage system in the Lisbon Street area, where he said water was found spraying from underneath the new pavement.

Along with the SIB loan, Allen said emergency funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may by forthcoming for the Lisbon Street repairs.

An application will be submitted today for the FEMA funding, according to Allen, who said he learned from the county EMA that funds are available due to the governor declaring a disaster from the recent flooding in the state.

He said, in addition to Lisbon Street, the funding would be used in connection to the hill slide that caused a portion of Pennsylvania Avenue Extension to collapse following the recent rains and flooding.

Liverpool Township resident Tim Wooley addressed council about the Pennsylvania Avenue Extension situation after council President John Torma made a special exception, since only city residents and business owners are permitted to speak at council sessions.

Wooley complained that Putnam Street, which now must be used to reach that area, is in such poor condition, the supplier of his heating fuel will not bring a truck to his home and he is being forced to carry buckets of fuel oil to fill his tank.

He told council he would like to remove a few trees or use some heavy equipment to make some improvements, but Allen cautioned him not to touch anything since it could jeopardize the city receiving funding.

Wooley told council, “They would be better off to come and buy us all out.”

Councilman Fred Rayl said it sounded as though Wooley needs help now, but Allen said receiving FEMA funding is “pretty immediate” once approved.

After the meeting, Allen praised the county EMA for its help throughout the flooding, saying, “They were phenomenal,” keeping him abreast of vital information and offering assistance.

Allen did not have a timeline for when work on any of the projects might begin, saying the sale of the home on Garfield Street is complete except for signing the paperwork.