Walbridge creek to see improvements


WALBRIDGE — A creek that runs through the village will be widened to allow better water flow and improve its aquatic habitat.

“One of the things that I complain about is the water issue in our creeks backing up,” said Mayor Ed Kolanko.

The Wood County Engineer’s Office previously determined that there were federal grants that can be used to widen Dry Creek, he said.

Greg Buhoveckey, a project engineer with Mannik Smith Group, attended the May 1 village council meeting to explain the proposal to re-slope the creek, add root wads and locked logs, and create a vegetation buffer strip and wetland.

The goals of the project, as they relate to the grant funding, are to improve fish habitat and increase habitat diversity, he said.

The purpose is not flood or erosion control, he said several times during his presentation.

“But everything we do is going to help that,” he said.

The village owns a 34-acre parcel east of the intersection of Walbridge Road in East Broadway that includes approximately 0.28 linear miles of stream of Dry Creek.

According to a paperwork filed with the Wood County Commissioners Office in 2022, Dry Creek has particularly poor-quality fish habitat, contributing to degraded stream conditions which include heavy silt cover.

Buhoveckey said they also were considering installing some vernal pools, which are covered by shallow water for variable periods from winter to spring, but may be completely dry for most of the summer and fall; an additional creek channel that will lower the 100-year flood elevation; add root wads to stabilize the creek bank and create fish habitat; and install flood plain benching to give flood water a place to go.

“Again, this is not a flood control project,” he said. “But by letting that water spill over and reconnecting with the flood plain and making the vernal ponds, it helps the habitat.”

Trash and debris will be removed as well and some trees that will be reused to create habitats, he said.

“We try to reuse everything that we take out,” he said.

There also is a possibility for a 4-foot-wide walking path and a stepping stone crossing.

They will need to work around three pipelines that cross the site and that will determine what can be done and where, Buhoveckey said.

“As far as we know, we are not doing anything they would object to,” he said.

Funding is very important, Kolanko said.

Cherie Blair, program specialist and grant manager with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the project was part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and was fully funded and did not require a local match.

Mannik Smith is doing the design work and once it is complete and all of the permits are obtained, the county will hire a construction company to do the project, she said.

They want to improve the aquatic habitat and stream health with a lot of collateral benefits, Blair said.

Council member Karen Baron said she would love to see a walking path and perhaps some birdhouses while council member LaDenna Johnston suggested turning the entire site into a park.

There is a proposed stone drive and parking area accessible from Walbridge Road.

“We could make that whole thing into a park if you wanted us to,” Buhoveckey said.

Blair said the design phase will be this fall, with bids being accepted this winter. The project will be completed next year.

“Our goal is to make this work for everyone … so that what you get is something you’re proud of,” said Jason Sisco, with the Wood County Engineer’s Office.

“It sounds really cool,” said council member Thomas Urbina.

Also at the meeting, council:

Received a check for $2,789 from Chris Smalley, director of the Wood County Park District. The grant money will be used for playground equipment at Railway Park.

Approved a request from Lorie Davis to allow alcohol on the outside patio of the VFW hall.

Heard an update on getting sidewalks on Clayton and Harland.

None of the property owners seem willing to pay, said Kolanko.

“I just can’t go there and put a sidewalk in,” he said.

The village can shoulder the cost or assess the property owners, he said.

Quotes have ranged from $18,000 to $25,000, he said.

Advanced police officers Melyssa Avalos, Robert Miller and Michael Ervin up a step on the pay grade.

Learned from village Administrator Todd Robson said that computer that determines the chemicals for the village pool doesn’t work and is not manufactured any more. He is getting quotes for a new system.

Canceled the July 3 meeting.

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