Sewer work could mean major makeover for south Fairmount

MSD under court order to fix stormwater overflow

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati’s South Fairmount neighborhood will undergo anextreme makeover in the next few years because of two words –Lick Run.

The reason is Cincinnati and Hamilton County’s consentdecree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requiringseparation of waste water and storm water in the Metropolitan SewerDistrict (MSD) system.

Lick Run used to be a stream that flowed in the area betweenwhat are now Queen City and Westwood Avenues. However, in the early20th Century it was put underground in a 19.5 foot diameterpipe.

MSD officials say that 10 percent of the overflow problem in itsentire system can be traced to the aging Lick Run pipe.

Plans are being developed to correct the situation. Thecommunity will get a chance to hear more about them in an OpenHouse on January 19th at Orion Academy on Queen City Avenue.

Two options are among the solutions being considered…

1) “Daylight” the storm water by putting it aboveground in a canal and retention ponds that would be built in anarea bordered by White Street, Queen City Avenue, Westwood Ave. andthe Mill Creek. Property needs to be acquired for construction.

2) Construct a tunnel under the Mill Creek to move both wasteand storm water to the Gest Street Treatment Plant. However, MSDofficials say 75 percent of the flow is storm water, which does notneed to be treated.

Reggie Hahn closes Friday on the sale of the garage he owns nearthe intersection of Queen City and Harrison Avenues. Its signaturefeature is the body of a ’57 Chevy put on the roof in 1985 bya former owner of the structure.

“It was a poker bet – bunch of softball guys –case of beer – and the next thing you know they put it on theroof and it’s been there ever since,” Hahn said.

Hahn said he’s been told the building will be torn downfor what’s being called Project Groundwork.

“I think it’s going to be nothing but good for theneighborhood,” he added. “The problem is so many peopleare going to be displaced.”

The land in question contains a McDonald’s, Arby’s,Rally’s, Family Dollar and other businesses that might haveto relocate.

Gary Finn is currently negotiating with the city for hisbuildings at Westwood and Grand Avenues.

He knows the sewer overflow problem has to be fixed soon.

“When we get these severe rains this whole areafloods,” Finn said. “I have a pontoon boat that wefloat around in when it’s bad. It can get up to a foothigh.”

Finn agrees that Project Groundwork will be good for thecommunity.

“Anything would be an improvement for South Fairmountbecause there’s never been any money for South Fairmountsince I’ve been here some 30 years,” he said.

Project Groundwork is a long-term fix. In the short-term, raingardens are being built where possible to help control rain runoffduring heavy downpours. One has already been built adjacent to theformer St. Francis/St. George Hospital property.


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