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Marshek residents still bailing water

Neighbors claim school trail has made things worse
Residents of Marshek Court appeared at last Tuesday’s Solon City Council meeting to ask for assistance in dealing with surges of groundwater which have damaged their homes and belongings. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– The residents of Marshek Court are waterlogged once more.
The beleaguered neighborhood off Sovers Street is again experiencing drainage issues, and homeowners shared their grievances with the Solon City Council last week.
It’s been six years since the city agreed to help maintain the detention pond and intakes that serve the area, but according to residents, things are as bad as ever.
“There’s so much water that comes off the school grounds, we’re trying to push so much water through such a small pipe, it’s unreal,” resident Randy Cline told council members Tuesday night.
Cline said he and his neighbors had been battling the drainage for years– even to the point of privately constructing a berm around the intakes to keep the water away from his house.
More recently, he reported, the construction of a trail between the middle school and high school has created a dam which pushes even more water their way.
“Now you have two different areas– veins– of water coming towards us,” he said. “Our houses are very much in jeopardy.
“A lot of us have our life’s savings in these houses,” he added.
His immediate neighbor, Chuck Bulechek, never used to get water draining onto his property, Cline continued, but recently it looked like a boat could float on the two inches of water that ended up there.
“Whoever engineered it should be clubbed upside the head,” he said. The city needs to make it a priority to help fix the problem, Cline said.
Back in September 2007, Sovers Street resident Robert Snead began asking the council for help in addressing excess water in his and other back yards.
Stormwater drainage intakes are located near the edge of the former varsity football field, and the stormwater collection line then runs through the Marshek development and over to a detention basin located behind property on Sovers Street.
In 2008, the city found that tree roots were strangling the drainage pipe and a section between the two beehive intakes had partially collapsed. But the maintenance of the detention basin was determined to be the responsibility of the homeowners’ association, which at the time did not exist.
After a lengthy discussion over the course of several meetings, the city agreed to assist with the maintenance of the drainage area, and the residents of the neighborhood have since been paying an additional assessment to cover the costs.
But high-volume storms and improvements by the school district have purportedly increased the speed and the amount of water coming through the Marshek Court backyards.
“It appears that when the school laid the asphalt on top of the railroad right-of-way that they may have actually created a dam,” Solon Public Works Director Scott Kleppe noted. Stormwater that ran off of Third Street and the school district’s football fields now seems to be heading toward Marshek Court, he said.
“It’s time to get it addressed,” Cline said. “We feel we’ve been put on the back burner for a lot of years.
“There’s so much water there it’s mind-boggling, really,” he added.
Mayor Cami Rasmussen agreed.
“We’re seeing levels of water come down that area that we haven’t seen before,” Rasmussen said. “It’s absolutely time that we address it, look at it and figure out what the solutions are.”
Rasmussen indicated the city would attempt to include damage caused by heavy April rains in its claim for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The city is scheduled to meet jointly with the Solon school board Monday, July 8, and the drainage issue is on the agenda for discussion.
Rasmussen assured the Marshek Court residents the problem would receive the attention it deserved.
“We certainly sympathize and we understand,” she said.
Cline asked the city to keep residents informed as discussions progress.
“It’s a financial hardship,” Marshek Court resident Jane Meyer told the council members. “I have lost all my carpet– it’s gone. Last night we worked for four hours getting all my stuff out. I’ve lived there for 20 years. I have never experienced this kind of water flow.
“We’re not going to make it down there,” she continued. “We’re not going to survive unless we get some help.”