City Council

Mansfield City Engineer Bob Bianchi discusses the Touby Run Flood Mitigation Hazard Project with City Council on Tuesday evening.

MANSFIELD -- Those awake in the early morning hours of Aug. 21, 2007, can scarcely recall when it rained so hard for so long.

By the time it was done, seven inches of rain had fallen on Mansfield, flooding the north end in what was clinically dubbed a 100-year rain event. Those impacted by the rising waters had less clinical, more colorful, descriptions.

At Mansfield City Council on Tuesday evening, city engineer Bob Bianchi unveiled Mansfield's plan to ensure such a rain would never again wreak such havoc, a $15.5 million bond project dubbed the Touby Run Flood Mitigation Hazard Project.

2007 flood

Mansfield experienced a 100-year flood in August 2007 when it rained about seven inches over 14 hours, devastating hundreds of homes and multiple businesses. Shown here is the area of Sixth and Mulberry streets. (Image courtesy of Bob Bianchi, City of Mansfield)

"Today kind of marks the culmination of a study that's been going on for the past five years now," Bianchi said. "We have studied it extensively. We have got the location of a very large, dry dam. We have got a solution and a cost. Today we are talking about property acquisition and basically the question is: Do we move forward?"

It appears at least some on council have questions, including a plan to pay for the work out of the city's sewage fund, using perhaps $1 million annually in increased revenues from new and more accurate water/sewer meters.

The plan was discussed for almost an hour during council's utilities committee meeting and is scheduled for for three readings at council's next three meetings on Sept. 18, Oct. 2 and Oct. 16.

Van Harlingen

3rd Ward Councilman Jon Van Harlingen questions city engineer Bob Bianchi on Tuesday evening.

The queries were led by 3rd Ward Councilman Jon Van Harlingen, who also heads council's finance committee. He primarily focused his multiple questions on the city's increase of sewer rates in 2016 in response to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency orders to improve its sewage treatment plant and collections system.

Van Harlingen said residents will question why sewage funds are being spent on dams and flood protection instead of sewage system improvements.

Bianchi said, "When we enhance the storm sewer system, we impact the sanitary sewage system by reducing the amount of storm water infiltrating the sanitary sewer system. We have always paid for the storm sewer out of sewage funds because of that."

In 2015, Bianchi said Mansfield's sanitary system is not equipped to handle the amount of storm water it’s currently receiving. Mansfield's plant is equipped to consistently handle 12 million gallons a day, Bianchi said, adding the plant might see 60 million gallons on a day during certain rain events.

dam slide

A photo of a slide from city engineer Bob Bianchi's presentation to City Council on Tuesday, showing where a large dry dam would be constructed near North Lake Park.

The project outlined by Bianchi on Tuesday has three components, including a large dry dam at the west end of North Lake Park, including a concrete spillway. At its highest point, the dam would reach 45 feet. Other components include a regional detention basin at South Park and a North Main mass fill.


Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker answers questions about Touby Run Flood Mitigation Hazard Project on Tuesday evening.

"This whole project, if you look at the biggest event we've had in recent history, namely Aug. 21, 2007, that was a 100-year rain event. This infrastructure was basically designed around containing that particular event," Bianchi said.

The project would reduce the flood plain in that area by about 106 acres, according to the engineer.  1st Ward Councilman David Falquette said that could lead to enhanced economic development in the area by those reluctant to invest in an area plagued by high water and high insurance costs.

Van Harlingen asked Bianchi and city Finance Director Linn Steward to bring council detailed financial numbers on how the project would affect the city's sewage funds, details which will be presented at council's next meeting.

Joe Trolian, executive director for the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, discusses Recovery Month events with Mansfield City Council members on Tuesday.

RECOVERY MONTH: Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker presented a proclamation marking September as Recovery Month in the city, giving it to Joe Trolian, executive director for the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. Trolian gave council members a calendar of events planned during the month, a trauma informed and recovery-oriented schedule.
This year’s theme, "Join the Voices of Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community," is designed to explore how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders.
Trolian also discussed two brand-new facilities in Mansfield that will bring individuals struggling with addition one step closer to recovery. The Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board recently broke ground on a new detox center and new residential facility for people seeking addiction treatment. The buildings will be constructed on Scholl Road, on property owned by Catalyst Life Services, next to the current New Beginnings facility.

Support Our Journalism

Do you want to know the who, what, where, why and how in local news? Become a Source member to support the most diverse coverage of our region.

City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"