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Neighbors in Mentor concerned about safety, aesthetics of water detention basin

Mentor panorama
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jun 03, 2019

MENTOR — Some neighbors in Mentor are fed up with a project to build a stormwater detention basin behind their homes, saying the process has been a muddy mess.

Kyle Nelson and her neighbors have been watching the project since the fall of 2018. When it's completed, what's now a muddy hole with some standing water is supposed to be a stormwater detention basin, intended to prevent flooding to 132 properties in Northwest Mentor.

"You hear, 'It’s better in Mentor,'" Nelson said. "Right now I don’t think that the residents on this street think it’s better in Mentor."

The city of Mentor said the project remains on track to be done by June 28, although some changes have been made to the original plan.

"We’re going to adapt the plan to sort of shallow out the slope a little bit and then cut a channel into the bottom of it," said Ante Logarusic, community relations administrator for the city of Mentor.

A letter sent to residents by the city engineer notes those changes are to "minimize ground water entering the newly constructed Rice Detention Basin." It also describes how changes made will "allow water to drain to the middle of the basin and flow out along a very narrow, shallow channel. This channel will be approximately four feet in width and eight inches in depth. The grading should result in a normal depth of water of about 6 inches in the narrow channel and little to no standing water in the remainder of the basin."

Logarusic said it's important to remember the basin serves a purpose in reducing flood risk to nearby properties.

"It’s a detention basin. It’s not a public park, it’s not a playground," Logarusic said. "It’s not something that’s really designed for public access."

About the possibility of six inches of standing water, Logarusic said, "If we go through drought-like experiences, of course it’ll be dry. If we get intermittent rain, there’s gonna be water. It’s like anywhere else."

For Nelson, the entire process has been frustrating.

"It’s just been a muddy mess looking out here," Nelson said.

She said her dog got stuck in the mud at one point, "and getting into that mud, you really can’t get out. And some of those days where we’ve had some hot weather, there has been an odor to the air, and the water’s just really disgusting to look at with this orange barrier fence here."

Nelson said she understood the basin is meant to reduce flood risk, but she and others are frustrated with the change of plans and feeling like their concerns about aesthetics and safety haven't been taken seriously.

"It’s just not a place you want to come to," Nelson said of her own backyard. "It’s not a place you can come out and enjoy a beer with your friends and look at this."