Grants Success Story in Boardman Township

Township Stories ,

Multiple homes. One serious flooding problem in an urban area. What options are available to a township?

Boardman Township (Mahoning County), one of three townships that comprise the ABC Water and Stormwater District, has been dealing with this very problem over the past several years. With severe flooding affecting homes over and over again, a solution was needed.

A home in the Township before flooding. A home in the Township, before flooding.
The same Township home as above, after flooding.The same Township home as above, after flooding.
The seemingly innucuous channel that is the source of the flooding. The seemingly innucuous channel that is the source of the flooding.

Another Township home during flooding.Another Township home during flooding.

After a bout of flooding in 2018, the local Emergency Management Agency director encouraged Boardman to apply for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Marilyn Kenner P.E., Road Superintendent for the Township, worked with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA) to submit three HMGP applications, all of which were ultimately successful. Kenner also worked with a consulting firm to provide elevation and stream modeling data illustrating that floodwaters reached the homes’ main floors.

As the grant application process developed, the Township was approached by several desperate homeowners who were asking to be bought out for the sake of the project; others were reached out to by Kenner. (As the program is strictly voluntary, homes cannot be acquired by eminent domain.)

The houses in question are located within a FEMA Zone A flood zone; that flood zone is along a tributary of Cranberry Run, a highly urbanized area in Boardman. The three grants will facilitate the removal of the homes located within the flood zone, and will also cover appraisal, acquisition, demolition, engineering, stream restoration, and landscaping. Once the homes are removed via the grant funds, the tributary waters will be able to engage the flood plain without damage to any adjacent structures.

“This project removes homes from an area that habitually floods,” said Kenner. “It will provide some additional storage for storm water.”

The First Grant
In 2018, Boardman applied first to acquire one home experiencing regular flooding; at the time, a disaster had been declared by the Governor concerning the flooding. Kenner first completed the OEMA pre-application process, and was then invited to prepare a full grant application. The grant breakdown is as follows:

  • Total project cost: $250,000.00
  • FEMA share: $187,500.00
  • State (OEMA) share: $31,250.00
  • Local share (paid for by ABC Water and Stormwater District): $31,250.00
  • Additionally, Boardman was awarded $8,329.00 in management costs (paid by FEMA)

The Second Grant
In 2019, with heavy flooding again impacting the area, another disaster was declared by the Governor concerning the flooding. Boardman applied for a second grant for three homes. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Total project cost: $698,024.00
  • FEMA share: $523,518.00
  • OEMA share: $88,253.00
  • Local share (paid for by ABC Water and Stormwater District): $88,253.00
  • Additionally, Boardman was awarded $8,329.00 in management costs (paid by FEMA)

The Third Grant
Having applied for three houses already in the spring of 2019, Boardman experienced further flooding that same summer. The Township applied for an additional three houses, bringing the total number of homes covered by the grants to seven. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Total project cost: $356,900.00
  • FEMA share: $267,675.00
  • OEMA share: $44,612.50
  • Local share (paid for by ABC Water and Stormwater District): $44,612.50
  • Additionally, Boardman was awarded $11,024.60 in management costs (paid by FEMA)

What Happens Now?
Although one of the homeowners chose to move into a home on the same street, many of the others have chosen to move to a new area. The plan for the land is to create a green space that incorporates natural channel design for the tributary, native plantings and natural landscaping principles.

Boardman is currently in the process of acquiring the properties covered by two of the three grants, and the third grant was just recently awarded in 2021.

Photos and details provided by Boardman Township. Article written by Sarah Crock, OTA Public Relations Coordinator.

This first appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of the Ohio Township News magazine. Contact Sarah at crock@ohiotownships.org with any questions or for reprint permissions.