MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio – Work continues for three flood control detention basins to be located along Big Creek Parkway in Middleburg Heights, but progress is slow.
Homes already have been demolished where the first basin will be constructed.
Environmental consultant Enviroscience Inc. has been working with the city on wetland mitigation. If a wetland is removed, it must be relocated by constructing it elsewhere in a regional watershed to minimize overall ecological impact. A wetland credit system exists to facilitate that process.
“There are actually no wetland mitigation credits to be found anywhere in the Rocky River and Black River drainage area, so we’re hoping something comes through,” Service Director Jim Herron told the committee.
“Enviroscience is very good at this,” Herron added. “So, we will find some (credits), but we’re hoping it won’t delay the project. To do the wetlands, it’s a whole process.”
He said due to the buildout of the entire region, finding a place to locate a wetlands is difficult.
“We have a great partner in the NEORSD, so I think we’ll have success in finding wetland mitigation credits,” Herron said, noting the second basin’s design is nearing completion, with only a few details yet to be finalized.
In addition, preliminary discussions for the third basin have begun, he said.
Construction of the detention basin located closest to Smith Road could begin in 2022, with the second basin possibly getting started (but “probably not,” Herron said) sometime next year as well.
Councilman Dan Sage wondered aloud why projects like this evolve to taking years to complete. He asked if there was any way to expedite the process, “to see some progress” other than what is happening “behind the scenes.”
“It’s really the approval process,” Mackay replied. “The biggest issue has been the wetlands.”
Mackay said wetlands experts and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to visit the site and evaluate the conditions. Residential property acquisition for the basins also takes significant time.
“We’re pushing as fast as we can,” Mackay said. “It’s frustrating for us, too, to stop and start and wait and get answers.”
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