Prepared Comments Made to
NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL
April 22, 2013
North Canton’s ongoing push to put in additional parking spaces at the East Maple Street Ball Fields seems to defy logic as everyone seems to forget that the property is the site of a city aquifer first and foremost.
The aquifer is a raw water source for the citizens of North Canton as well as water customers outside the city. The ball fields and surrounding area are designated as a Source Water Area Protection area. In a designated SWAP area the Ohio EPA suggests protective strategies to minimize risks in these areas.
The Ohio EPA considers parking lots a potential source of contamination. If a SWAP area already has a parking lot, the EPA has recommended strategies in its SWAP assessment reports to deal with these potential sources of contamination. The EPA does not endorse expanding any existing source of contamination such as a parking lot that lies within a SWAP area.
One would surely think that with the experience the City of North Canton went through in 2001 with the East Maple Street well field that protection of our sources of drinking water would be the top priority.
On Wednesday, June 13, 2001, the City of North Canton was featured on the front page of the Repository with headlines proclaiming, “North Canton well field is contaminated.”
On Thursday the 14, North Canton again made headlines with, “Water danger zone expands.”
On Friday the 15, more disturbing headlines concerning North Canton’s East Maple Street well field proclaimed, “Well field ruined ‘forever.’”
The City of North Canton continued to make headlines in the Repository for another five days. Citizens in North Canton and surrounding townships were in a panic. North Canton’s mayor announced his resignation as all of this unfolded.
One would think that a community that had experienced such a calamity would now want to take extra precautions to protect its water sources from contamination.
The East Maple Street Ball Fields already have parking to accommodate 227 vehicles. There is no reason to increase the level of risk to the City’s aquifer with additional parking. In the last week I forwarded to the Clerk of Council an email that I received from the Ohio EPA entitled, “SWAP protective strategies for parking areas.”
This email clearly defines parking lots as a potential source of contamination. After the near disaster that took place in June 2001, why would you not exercise the utmost diligence to minimize any and all risks to the City’s well field?
I would also like to add that it makes absolutely no sense to spend $50,000 of the $150,000 bequest to expand the ball field parking lot when it is known that the liner at the Dogwood Pool needs to be replaced at a cost of $300,000 or more.
Given that the city is struggling financially, the bequeath is a godsend for the city and would cover half the cost to reline the Dogwood Pool.
Why would a community projecting budget deficits spend public money on a parking lot rejected by its’ Planning Commission when there is a need for several hundreds of thousands of dollars for major maintenance to Dogwood Park pool?
The vacant lots purchased by the city to provide a buffer for the well field against development should not be developed for parking. Doing so undermines the reasoning for purchasing the lots and undermines the credibility of the individuals who gave that reasoning for purchasing the lots.
I ask that this council show its residents that the City of North Canton has learned from the past and that everything possible will be done to minimize and or eliminate risk of contamination to its sources of drinking water. There is absolutely no reason to increase the risks of contamination to drinking water sources beyond what exists with the present level of parking.
City of North Canton
Handout to City Council follows.
NORTH CANTON WATER CRISIS
FRONT PAGE HEADLINES - REPOSITORY NEWSPAPER
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2001
“NORTH CANTON WELL FIELD IS CONTAMINATED”
- SOLVENT FOUND AT E. MAPLE SITE
THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2001
“WATER DANGER ZONE EXPANDS”
- RESIDENTIAL WELLS AT RISK IN LAKE, PLAIN TOWNSHIPS
FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2001
“WELL FIELD RUINED FOREVER”
- NORTH CANTON PROJECT, $1.4M DOWN THE DRAIN
- EPA BEGINS WELL-WATER TESTING TODAY
SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2001
“TWO WELLS TEST CLEAN”
- AREA UNDER ALERT COULD BE REDUCED
SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2001
“WATER WORRIES LINGER”
- CONTAMINATED WELL STRAINS FAMILY
- PEOPLE NOT TAKING CHANCES WITH WATER
TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2001
“WELL-WATER BAN LIFTED”
- RESIDENT CAN USE WATER AGAIN, BUT OFFICIALS WILL CONTINUE TESTING
WEDNSDAY, JUNE 20, 2001
“ADVISORY OVER, BUT WELL-USERS STILL CAUTIOUS”
THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2001
“SALVAGING WELL FIELD DEPENDS ON EXTENT OF CONTAMINATION”