Stantec Consulting has come up with four proposals to alleviate flooding in the O'Harra Estates subdivision in Galloway, but any further action is on hold until Prairie Township learns if its request for $1.2 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds is approved.

The application for a hazard-mitigation grant from FEMA has made it through the initial review and has "advanced to the next stage of review," township Administrator Rob Peters said.

"We should find out in May if it has been awarded," he said.

The FEMA grant would be used to buy up to eight houses in the O'Harra Estates subdivision off Alton Road. The grant application includes one home on Alton Road, two on El Nora Drive and five on Tamara Avenue.

About three dozen houses on Tamara Avenue, El Nora Drive and some abutting property on Alton Road have been subject to flood problems dating back decades from Clover Gross Run to the north and from water flowing across farm fields to the south and east.

If the township is awarded grant funds, an independent appraiser will set a fair-market value for the homes.

They will be torn down and the land will be kept as open or as conservation space, officials said.

The township spent $15,500 in November on a study by Stantec Consulting to examine repeated flooding in O'Harra Estates.

A public meeting was held March 7 to discuss Stantec's report, which detailed four ways to minimize flooding, including:

* Raising the roadway elevation in a depressed portion of Tamara Avenue.

* Raising the roadway elevation and providing a conveyance under the road with a culvert.

* Providing detention storage in combination with raising the roadway and installing a culvert.

* Acquiring parcels to build a secondary entrance/exit point on higher ground to allow access to the neighborhood during floods.

Consultants recommended the second option -- raising the depressed point of the road by about five feet and installing a culvert -- because it "provides the most benefit for the cost," according to the Jan. 31 Stantec report.

The cost for the second option is estimated to be at least $720,000, Peters said.

Any action likely will require a floodplain development permit from Franklin County and a Conditional Letter of Map Revision from FEMA, the Stantec report said.

A CLOMR includes reports, models, FEMA forms and revisions to floodplain maps detailing the areas to be removed from the floodplain.

About two-thirds of the houses in the subdivision fall within the 100-year floodplain. Without "a true regional solution, it is likely that these homes and several more homes on the west side of Alton Road will remain subject to flooding indefinitely," the Stantec report said.

If Prairie Township receives the grant, it's expected to take about three years to complete the appraisals, purchases and demolition of the homes.

Funds became available in 2018 after President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration acknowledging damage in dozens of counties from flooding, straight-line winds, heavy rains and mudslides that plagued Ohio last February.

"Once we know whether or not we have the grant, we'll revisit our options for raising the street," Peters said.

"The township is trying to do what we can to help with the situation there. We understand it was made worse last year by having record rainfalls. We hope to get the FEMA grant."

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