Poland community divided over proposed fix to forest flooding, erosion

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The company listed suggestions in the report to fix the issues, which they say could cost nearly $1.6 million

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Concerns over erosion and flooding in the Poland Municipal Forest were finally heard at a meeting Thursday afternoon. About 20 people got the opportunity to learn more about a study on the issues inside of the woods.

Laurie LaPlant moved to Poland over a decade ago, falling in love with both her home and the area.

“I fell in love with the woods and the fact that it’s right down the street, so I am a regular. I’m down there every day. Every single day I’m down in those woods,” LaPlant said.

The Poland Forest Board hired Enviro-Science from Stow in November 2016 to look at the impact erosion is having on the banks of Yellow Creek.

“They were asked to do a study of restorations of Yellow Creek within Poland woods and, specifically, they were looking at a lot of flooding every year when the rains come and there’s a lot of erosion happening. They were tasked to look at five different areas and see what they could do,” LaPlant said.

The company did a report on the problems more than seven months ago. What they found was general development in the area and the lack of stormwater control is causing flooding in the park. It not only impacts the creek, but walking trails and the buried pipelines.

They listed suggestions in the report to fix the issues, which they say could cost nearly $1.6 million.

“Number one, this project is way out of anyone’s budget. I don’t think all of this work could be done. They’ve broken it up in five different sections,” LaPlant said.

Those include Randy’s Run, Butler Trail Culvert, Yellow Creek Downstream, Yellow Creek Middle Zone and Yellow Creek Upstream.

The firm suggests bringing in a lot of fill materials, like rocks, where there is erosion. They also suggest removing trees that have fallen into the river to limit flooding or moving trees to different spots to slow down the water.

However, this is where the community is divided. Some people want to fix the issues, while others don’t want the forest to be touched at all.

“The extremes are, ‘Let’s do everything we can, everything they propose and manage this river’ and the other end of the extreme is, ‘We don’t do anything and let the river go where it naturally takes its course,”‘ LaPlant said.

She finds herself in the middle but there is one thing she wants to know moving forward.

“If we allow them to come in with their machinery, cause a lot of this, moving a lot of rocks around, it’s definitely going to disturb the forest. It’s going to disturb the river. What’s it going to do to the water quality? Show us some examples where this has been done before and what it looks like after.”

The park board is still gathering information before making any changes.

“I think we first need to spend more time educating people of what the problems and solutions are or potential solutions are, and then receive feedback,” said board member Mark Thompson. “Then we determine what steps we might want to take. It might be short-term or it might be long-term solutions.”

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show the issues could cost nearly $1.6 million to fix.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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