Lorain residents search for solutions to crumbling unimproved neighborhood streets

Flooding also an issue in Lorain neighborhoods

LORAIN, Ohio - David Carter of Lorain is tired of dealing with crumbling roads in his neighborhood on Lorain's west side.

Carter lives in an area that's connected by a network of unimproved streets that don't include concrete curbs or underground storm sewers.

Carter and other Lorain residents believe Lorain City Hall can do a better job of patching streets, and want the federal government to help them re-pave the neighborhood.

"I've lived in this neighborhood as a kid, born and raised right here in this neighborhood,' said Carter. "They said we're going to get new roads in here. 51 years old, same old thing."

Shelby DeCredico agrees with Carter. She showed NewsChannel5 pictures of the heavy flooding in her neighborhood that's occurred many times over the past 10 years.

"It's horrible, because we get water in our basements, our yards flood, and we don't want our kids out here playing in the road because they'll get hurt," said DeCredico.

NewsChannel5 contacted to office of Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer, and the Mayor's office responded immediately.

Lorain Chief of Staff Derek Feuerstein explained there are approximately 24 miles of unimproved roads, like the ones on which DeCredico and Carter reside, in the city.

Generally, unimproved roads are built in a township, and some, like these, are later acquired or annexed by a city. Residents living on unimproved streets did not pay for them, even though it's a city's responsibility to maintain them.

In most cases unimproved streets will not be re-paved unless residents agree to an assessment on their property taxes.

Feuerstein pledged to improve patching in the neighborhood in the coming weeks, using Lorain's new Dura-Patcher equipment. He also made it clear the Mayor is working on solutions to the chronic flooding in the area.

"We're doing a flood study along Martin's Run Creek, that runs throughout the whole city," explained Feuerstein. "We're trying to look for different ways of improving drainage throughout the city. We're also working with the other communities, because water always heads to Lake Erie, so we get a lot of water from the south."

Feuerstein explained a property tax assessment would cost the average residents about $1,000 a year for 20 years, but said new streets and sewers would significantly increase property values and reduce flooding issues.

60 percent of residents in any given area would have to approve an assessment before action can be taken.

Meanwhile, Carter believes the money for re-paving unimproved streets should also come from some other sources.

"I think the federal government  should kick in and help pay," said Carter. "We wouldn't mind paying some of the fee, but I feel the government and the city should help out with the people. We have too many people living on a fixed income in this neighborhood."

NewsChannel5 will follow up on road conditions in the neighborhood.

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