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Village of Clinton hit hard by flooding

Posted: 4:24 PM, Jun 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-19 08:46:11-04
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CLINTON, Ohio — Larry Kolar showed up at Clinton Automotive on Main Street Tuesday morning hoping to pick up his business dump truck that's in the shop for a transmission repair.

But he couldn't get close to the building due to severe flooding surrounding it. Several cars parked outside were submerged near their roofs and Kolar assumed his truck sitting inside of a bay was ruined.

"I think it's probably under the water so I need to call the owner and see what we can do about it, but nothing right now," Kolar said.

Clinton Mayor Al Knack said the downtown flooding is the worst in the village in recent memory.

"I've not seen it this way that bad," Knack said. "1977 was a bad flood. 1969 was a bad flood. I've seen it close the roads, but not to this magnitude."

After more rainfall overnight, Knack said the water is two to three feet deep on part of Main Street. It's six to eight feet deep on North Street.

Picnic tables and a pavilion are covered in water at Elizabeth Park. A parking lot for a Summit County Metro Park has been swallowed up by a water as has a section of the popular Towpath Trail.

About 25 people have been forced out of their homes or businesses and they're likely to return to flooded basements.

"My main concern is safety for our residents and business people on both sides of the river," the mayor said.

High water also surrounded a house that was being rehabbed for Alice Bogdansky. She was ready to move in within a month.

Bogdansky and her business partner, David Oberlin, have been hoping to create some new downtown businesses near the trail, but the flooding created second thoughts and a murky future.

"It really makes me rethink our plan because obviously if we get something going, and then it might be good for several years, but what happens when it happens again," Bogdansky said.

With the possibility of more rain on Thursday, both village officials and residents were taking proactive steps.

The flooding is only a few feet from the fire department so firefighters are on standby to move all of the trucks to higher ground if the water invades the building.

Michael Perry, who lives in a century home on Main Street, has heavy flooding in his backyard and the water is only five feet from coming into the home.

Perry has sump pumps working overtime, but he's still worried his basement could flood.

"That's very concerning. I didn't sleep last night sitting here watching the water slowly, gradually move up," Perry said.