Pemberville asked to build flood barrier

File photo. Water spills
out of river towards downtown Pemberville. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)

PEMBERVILLE – A long-time village businessman Tuesday proposed a 300-foot "multi-purpose retention
mound" to help limit flood damage from the Portage River to eight businesses along Front Street.

Denny Henline told village council the mound is "not a high-priced engineered flood wall" but
something four to four and one-half feet high. He described the mound as a "300-foot snake."
He said the mound could have decorative stone on the side facing the businesses and rip rock on the side
facing the river.
Henline told council he has talked with an official from the Army Corps of Engineers about the project
and learned such a project would require a ponding area up river to take care of the water the mound
would hold back. He said the pond could be built on land owned by the village and Freedom Township land
behind the fire station and neighboring private property along the river. He said the base of the mound
could be "free fill from concrete barns being torn down in the area."
Henline said he recently completed $37,000 in repairs to his property from the Dec. 23, 2013 flood. He
said his store has flooded five times in 37 years and a couple of years ago he bought flood insurance
for the first time, even though he didn’t think it was a good idea.
He told council he would be back for a decision in two weeks.
"I applaud your effort to try to think outside the box," Council Member Randy Rothenbuhler
said. "My biggest concern is that this needs bigger approval than the folks sitting here."
Council Member James Opelt agreed the problem is not going to be solved by council and suggested the idea
be referred to the village’s Flood Committee to come up with a more formal plan.
"That is a legitimate concern of that committee," Mayor Gordon Bowman said. "It is
something the committee can sink its teeth into."
Flood Committee Chairman Eric Campbell said he would talk with Henline about the idea and limitations the
village has on what it can do in the flood plain.
A two-week decision does not seem likely.
Council also:
• Heard three letters from village residents about the proposed rezoning of 19.56 acres on West Front
Street from agricultural to residential use. The letters raised several concerns about residential
development and placed special emphasis on the ingress and egress from the property and problems with
widening two narrow existing streets. A public hearing on the rezoning is set for April 1 at 6:45 p.m.
in the Village Hall.
• Approved a permanent budget for 2014.
• Approved a $200 credit to the electric bill of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in support of its hosting a
community site for the Wood County Committee on Aging.
• Approved a motion indicating council had no opposition to the American Legion Post seeking D-5 and D-6
permits from the Ohio Department of Liquor Control.
• Approved swimming pool charges, showing no increases and dropping the cost for group memberships.
• Approved a budget for the Pemberville Five-Miller held during the Pemberville Free Fair. Proceeds
benefit the pool and Boy Scout troop. Rothenbuhler asked that fees for the race be reviewed to make sure
they are in line with similar events in the area. Opelt said the event brings a lot of people to the
fair and more than once he has stood in food lines bolstered by the runners and their families.
• Approved $4,550 for the annual mower exchange. Campbell said the cost is higher this year because a
model was discontinued. The swap program is in its seventh year.