Liverpool seeking emergency designation

EAST LIVERPOOL – Cleanup efforts continued Thursday throughout areas of the city hit hard by flooding on Wednesday, while officials began the process of having the area declared a disaster.

Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell said Luke Newbold, county EMA director, and county Commissioner Mike Halleck both came to the city Wednesday night to survey the damage, also visiting the newly opened emergency shelter.

“They were given a tour of the damaged areas and Commissioner Halleck will argue on our behalf to the governor that it is a disaster area,” Estell said, adding that state Rep. Nick Barborak has also agreed to go to bat for the city in that regard.

The designation must come from the governor after a recommendation from the county and state EMAs and could result in the city receiving funding to help pay for the cost of manpower and infrastructure damage from the flooding.

Flooding that had some areas completely under water on Wednesday were high and dry Thursday, with city street employees working diligently to remove the mud and debris left behind.

An area on state Route 11 which had been the site of a slide in the past experienced some rock slippage onto the highway during the night Wednesday, but Estell said city workers were able to remove the rocks and debris.

Thompson Park also suffered some flooding, with the playground under water for awhile, some washed out areas and downed trees, according to park Superintendent J.C. Blackhurst.

“We had a mess, but we got lucky, considering the amount of water. It’s all cleaned up,” Blackhurst said Thursday afternoon.

Refuse department employees who had been pulled from those duties Wednesday to help with flooding issues were back on their routes Thursday, and Estell said they were catching up to their regular schedule.

He and Mayor Jim Swoger encouraged residents who had their basements or properties damaged by flood water to bring any ruined items to a clean up day that had already been scheduled for Saturday.

A dollar figure on the damages has not yet been compiled, with Estell saying some areas still need looked at.

Although there had been some concern that the Ohio River might be the next to overflow its banks, Estell said, “We’re not expecting any problems with the river. Everything seems to be on the decline right now.”