By EILEEN MCCLORY
OTTAWA — When Findlay floodwaters began receding, Ottawa residents knew they needed to start preparing.
The Blanchard River flows west from Findlay into Putnam County, where part of downtown Ottawa sits near the river.
“We live in a bowl,” Ottawa
Mayor Dean Meyer said Saturday. “I hate to see flooding happen every time.”
The Blanchard River level in Ottawa rose to a high of 27.5 5 feet at 1 p.m. Saturday and stayed around that level late into the evening, according to the National Weather Service.
By 10:30 p.m. Sunday, the river level had dropped to 25.55 feet, which is considered minor flood stage.
Minor flood stage at Ottawa starts at 23 feet and moderate flood stage begins at 27 feet.
Meyer said the flooding affected homes and businesses in the village. A Main Street auto store, Higgin’s Auto Parts, flooded and employees had to take all their equipment out of the shop.
He said some homes flooded and people were displaced, though he didn’t know where they had gone.
As of Saturday, he said the main plan for cleanup in Ottawa was to collect flood debris that residents and businesses leave at the side of the road.
Amanda Iannotta, who works for Gustwiller’s, a clothing store on Main Street, said while the store had not flooded, there may still be an economic impact on the business.
“I think maybe people may not come into town because they know they can’t get in,” she said.
Officer Tammy Blank of the Ottawa Police Department said as far as she knew, the Blanchard River had crested in Ottawa.
“Findlay went down pretty quickly so we’re hoping for the same,” she said.
Blank said she had not needed to do any rescues on Saturday, though a tractor-trailer had gotten stuck in the water on Main Street.
Phil Vance, who lives in the flood zone on West Third Street, said his house had not flooded, though a sump pump was running in his basement. He said the more the pump runs, the more flooding is occurring.
“We’re used to this,” Vance said. “But we didn’t used to have so many floods.”
He said he had stocked up on supplies before the floodwater came.
Rachel Bohrer of Ottawa was out with her husband, Jesse, and daughter, Ella, on Saturday, looking at the flooding. She said flooding is a norm in parts of Ottawa.
“It’s always a question, is this house in the flood zone?” she said.
The village is working with the Maumee Watershed Conservancy District to create a floodwater diversion channel near the village. Meyer said he looks forward to the completion of that project, because it will mean flooding will not be as bad in Ottawa.
“We are very fortunate that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Meyer said of Saturday’s high water.
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