The heavy flooding two weeks ago in Pickerington that washed out the Picktown Palooza celebration and caused damage to city parks and the Pickerington High School Central stadium also wreaked havoc on area residences, especially those in the Preston Trails subdivision.

In response to the issue, Pickerington city officials submitted a preliminary application for disaster assistance from the state July 24.

"This application identified both public and private (property) damage done with the majority of the public damages incurred within Sycamore and Victory parks and private damages centering in basements flooded with storm and wastewater," said Bill Vance, Pickerington city manager.

He said the flooding caused an estimated $300,000 worth of damage to public property, including replacement of playground equipment in both Sycamore and Victory parks.

Vance said the city is coordinating efforts with the public-assistance application with Fairfield County Emergency Management Agency director John Kochis.

"The city is pursuing the potential for state assistance for private flooding damages done in Pickerington as the city has no disaster resources available," Vance said.

He said city officials decided to try to see if assistance is available despite the lack of resources.

"Such state assistance for involved Pickerington property owners is not a guarantee as the state has yet to officially declare that any such private assistance opportunities could be made available," Vance said. "Pickerington is submitting on their behalf anyway."

Kochis said the flooding "was very localized," meaning there was not enough damage across Ohio to meet the eligibility for federal assistance to homeowners.

The minimum requirement is that per county, 25 homes have to be severely damaged or destroyed. That means half of the building's value, Kochis said.

"We didn't have anywhere near enough damage in the three counties most affected," he said, adding the city's application will take a while to wind its way through the bureaucratic process. "That will be sent to the state of Ohio by Friday (July 28)."

Kochis acknowledged Sycamore Creek in the areas of the Victory and Sycamore Creek parks is especially problematic when heavy rains do occur.

"There is definitely a localized flood issue there," he said.

Kochis said Violet Township officials did not report any significant flood damage to roads, bridges or culverts to warrant an application, but one Fairfield County-owned bridge in the township was damaged.

He advised homeowners to purchase flood insurance to protect against such acts of nature.

"It is painful to pay the additional costs, but the ultimate goal is to protect the home," Kochis said.

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