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Rome township resident wants fix for water runoff problems

ROME TOWNSHIP- Unquestionably, development in the eastern end of the county has progressed at a rapid pace over the last 8-10 years. Subdivisions have sprouted up quickly and some residents say the new development has created a problem for which the area is not prepared.

Harvey Hall Jr. and his father, Harvey Hall Sr., who both live on State Route 243, said the area's storm drainage system, installed years ago, is no longer adequate to handle the volume of runoff that occurs when the area gets heavy rain. More people live in Rome Township now that 10 years ago. New development displaces water, and when the culverts and ditches can't handle the volume of water, it backs up onto private property, instead of going all the way to the Ohio River.

"It's not just my property that's affected, it's everywhere in Rome Township," Harvey Hall Sr., said. "I've got pictures that would make your hair curl."

"I've got a neighbor that's getting ready to build a dam to keep the water off his property," Harvey Hall Jr., said. "We need something up there that goes all the way to the river with this water."

Rome Township trustee Charles Fuller said the deluge of rain the area received a couple of weeks ago left 30 homes wet.

"The drains were put in years ago and now, with the new development, they're just overextended," Fuller said.

Residents have asked the Rome Township trustees for help, but the township does not have the money to undertake such a large-scale project. Rome Township may not qualify for some grant monies, because grants are often based on an area's financial hardship, and the number of low- to moderate-income households that reside in the affected area.

"We've tried (to get grant money) and we're still trying." Fuller said. "But we've been told in the past that we didn't qualify. We have gotten Issue 2 money in the past for other projects, but storm drains are a low priority project (according to Issue 2 guidelines.)"

Harvey Hall Jr., has asked the Lawrence County Commission to help find money to solve the problem of flooding in Rome Township. County officials said they are not sure what can be done, but they plan to look into the flooding problem.

"I'd just like to know they're trying to do something," Harvey Hall Sr. said. "People here would just like to know they're getting something for their tax dollars."