City officials hope to answer residents’ concerns about the impact the Big Ditch project may have on the South Shore Veterans Park at a public forum on Tuesday, Aug. 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in city council chambers at the municipal complex, 5330 Seaman Road.
The Big Ditch project calls for improving the drainage ditch along the west side of Stadium Road from Seaman Road to Bayshore Road to increase safety by eliminating the eroding ditch banks along the roadside and to improve the overall drainage system.
Property owners will not be assessed for the project. It is funded by a $319,200 grant and a $478,000 low interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission.
The improvements will include the replacement of the ditch and undersized culverts with a large storm sewer, catch basins, and shallow grass-lined swales. At the downstream end of the project, near South Shore Veterans Park, and in areas along open farmland, the project will include enhancing the existing ditch by widening and relocating it further from the roadway to restore it to a more natural stream channel, according to Public Service Director Paul Roman.
Construction in South Shore Veterans Park, which began last month, includes a new outfall to Lake Erie, new stream channels, stream crossing culverts to maintain park access and walking paths, landscape mounding, relocation of a walking path and extensive landscaping with native plantings and trees, said Roman. A conservation easement will be established and held by the Black Swamp Conservancy for all stream sections of the project.
At the forum, residents will be able to view displays showing the planned improvements as well as the potential effects of construction on surrounding properties, according to Roman. The public service staff and consultants will be available to discuss the project and answer questions.
“A lot of people are concerned that we might be hurting the park in some way,” said Roman.
The city will create new streams in exchange for enclosing the ditch along Stadium Road, said Roman.
“These new streams will go through South Shore Veterans Park, at the corner of Bay Shore and Stadium roads. Right now, the contractor is out constructing the streams and new outfall to the lake,” he said.
The city bought land from broadcast station WTVG, just south of the park, through which a section of stream will mostly move.
The alignment of a walking path in the park will remain, said Roman.
“We installed two bridges over the streams that will be there to accommodate the path. There is one section we are relocating, but we put in two bridges so that that alignment can remain. We’ll eventually pave the older asphalt walking path within the next couple of years,” he said.
There will be changes to the two ball diamonds in the park, said Roman.
“The ball diamonds will remain, but the one larger diamond will become the smaller diamond, and the smaller diamond will become the larger one as a result of the alignment of the new stream,” he said. “The new stream takes out a section of walking path, but then we’ll relocate that section as part of this project. All the open channels in this project will be protected with a conservation easement, which will be held by the Black Swamp Conservancy. We made sure that the park will still function as a park, and we left open access points throughout the conservation easements where we could put in a future walking path. Right now, there’s a sledding hill out there. What we had before was an existing ditch that separated the sledding hill from the walking path. We now put in an access so there could be a future bridge between the sledding hill and the walking path. We did things like to help accommodate the park to grow someday into something more. I honestly believe this will improve the whole area.”
The contractor, Hank’s Plumbing & Heating, Co., of Toledo, will maintain one lane of traffic throughout the project limits. Sections of the roadway may need to be closed to through traffic due to the nature of the project and the tight working conditions for the contractor. The city is asking motorists to avoid driving through the construction work zone area as much as possible. The project will require several full road closures to allow for the installment of the new storm culvert across the roadway. Separate road closure notices will be provided prior to the full road closures.
Wetland mitigation work will be done by Davey Resource Group, Kent, Ohio. The construction work on the project will begin at Bay Shore Road at the outlet to Maumee Bay and progress southward along Stadium Road ending at Seaman Road. The project is expected to be completed next July.
The contractor will notify property owners in advance of any work that will affect access to the property or site utilities, according to Roman. The contractor has submitted a tentative work schedule, but due to the large scale project, weather impacts, and project conditions during construction, the contractor’s work schedule may change. Final grading and seeding will not be completed until all testing has been completed on the storm sewer.
For more information, contact the public service department at 419-698-7047.