Correction: The acreage of a proposed retention pond at the former Shupe Elementary School is actually much smaller than we previously understood — just 0.2 acres. But the site could also contain a rain garden that would contain native plantings, said Aaron Appell of Bramhall Engineering.
A 0.2-acre retention pond could be built at Shupe Elementary to help lessen the impact of storm water.
The idea was pitched Monday by Amherst mayor Mark Costilow and Aaron Appell of Bramhall Engineering.
They asked the Amherst board of education to allow the city to build a four-foot-deep basin in Summer 2017.
“It slows the water down. It cleans the water. It would be a nice improvement,” said Appell.
The pond would be located along the north end of the property where a drainage ditch already runs.
Appell said it’s an ideal site for retention because no one can develop there. A city sanitary sewer also runs through the area, connecting houses near the school and preventing more homes from being raised.
It’s also in a 500-year flood plain that prevents development.
Rain runoff from the Shupe building and parking lot could be collected at the pond and slowly released back into the existing drainage soil and Beaver Creek, he said.
The project would be funded by an unlikely source — the Ohio Turnpike.
Because it was built long before storm water management laws were in place, the Turnpike today is required to fund efforts to help mitigate the storm water problems roadway surfaces pose.
But areas along the highway’s stretch are so built up that retention projects adjacent to it are out of the question. So the money goes to cities to use as they see fit.
Appell said Amherst is “impacted pretty heavily by the Turnpike’s presence” and is therefore eligible for $270,000 in state funding.
The Amherst school board showed interest Monday but did not immediately jump to approve the city’s offer.
Board president Rex Engle voiced concern about the danger a retention pond might pose.
Appell said a fence would be constructed around the pond, but Engle still worried what could happen if a child were to jump it — and whether the school system could be held legally liable for injuries or death there.
The board decided to check with its attorney. Engle indicated a vote would be cast in February.
There were also questions about how Shupe neighbors would receive the retention pond idea.
When asked if he anticipated resident objections, Appell replied, “It would be a benefit to the residents, for sure, if they have flooding problems out there,” but acknowledged projects rarely have 100 percent support from nearby homeowners.
Should the school board agree to construction, neighbors would be notified and a public meeting would be scheduled to get their feedback, Appell said.
The general attitude toward the project among board members seemed positive.
“It does add value to the Shupe property. If ever we would go to sell it, it would raise the value,” said board member Ron Yacobozzi.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Photo by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Aaron Appell of Bramhall Engineering speaks on the dimensions of a proposed retention pond that could be built at Shupe Elementary School.