The Hancock Park District board on Tuesday discussed a proposed storm water drainage easement through Oakwoods Nature Preserve, to benefit residents of the Dold Subdivision along Hancock County 9.

Van Horn Hoover and Associates was contracted to resolve the subdivision’s drainage issue. Dan Stone, firm owner, said he was seeking input from the park district and would also talk with Gateway Church representatives.

The architect/engineering company has proposed construction of a drainage swale from the subdivision to Aurand Run in Oakwoods Nature Preserve.

The park district board said a drainage swale along Hancock County 9 to the nature preserve property would be the least disruptive to park district property and the park district-owned land that is leased annually for farming.

According to a report from park district Director Gary Pruitt, the swale would cross the nature preserve with “no impact to the farmland and Meadowlark Trail that encircles the farmland. There is ample common area along the frontage to accommodate the easement with little or no practical impact to the nature preserve.”

A second option would be construction of a drainage swale from the Dold Subdivision, behind Gateway Church on Hancock County 9, and through the nature preserve. The nearly 50-foot-wide swale would cross the Meadowlark Trail (a grass trail) at two locations, go through the farm field leased to a farmer which provides income to the park district, and end at Aurand Run.

About one acre of farmland would be affected by this plan. The swale could be constructed so the area could still be farmed. But, if not, it would be a grass swale which would divide the land. The park district receives $226 per acre for the land lease.

A third option, suggested by Commissioner Ed Ingold, would be construction of the swale behind the church and then angled toward Aurand Run.

Commissioner Scott Younger said going across the farmland may cut drainage tile in the field, which could be a bigger problem.

“Granting the easement can be characterized as the Hancock Park District being in a position to help, being a good neighbor, and improving the lives of people living in the Dold residential subdivision,” Pruitt said in the report. “Apparently, the residents there have endured flooding issues for years due to poor drainage.”

“The approach being taken is to not point fingers or play the blame game or leverage a certain party to do something based on previous action or errors, but rather to investigate and solve the problem,” Pruitt said.

Stone said he would return to the board with an update later.

Separately, the board approved renewal of the park district’s medical and prescription drug coverage for another year.

Lee Hitchings, with Hitchings Insurance Agency, gave an overview of the plan with a premium of about $10,934, about a 7 percent increase from the nearly $9,694 premium last year. Medical Mutual of Ohio offers the medical and prescription drug coverage.

The plan covers 10 full-time employees. Employees also receive dental, vision and life insurance coverage paid by the park district. Employees pay a portion of the insurance for a spouse and/or dependent coverage.

Maurer: 419-427-8420
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