By Victor Milani
The Cleveland Water Department has a reputation of moving at a snails pace when called upon for repairs. The reputation is well deserved I might add! In the 1 mile radius of Northfield Village alone, there are eight hydrants that are out of service, and another four in need of repairs (see list) Water has been gushing now for 11 days from a water break on N. Plaza next to the Northfield Village Town Hall. A few feet away from the break is one of the eight hydrants with a yellow out of service tag. Mayor Nehez has called for the hydrants to be repaired for over six months. The Cleveland Water Department owns the hydrants and is responsible for repairs. Northfield and other communities can flush the hydrants, paint, and grease the fittings. Northfield Village actually pays $6,000 annually for the water expelled during the flushing process. Yet Cleveland Water has done nothing to fix the road break causing water to gush down N.Plaza, to Rt.8 How many thousands of dollars have been washed away due to their lackadaisical response time? The hydrants at 227 and 249 Kennedy are out of service, and have been for some time. If there is a house fire in that area, how long will it take for the fire engines to run houses to a fire hydrant that does work? When minutes matter in fighting fire and savings life, this is unacceptable! How embarrassing for the hydrant right in back of Northfield Village Town Hall, to be out of service, next to the gusher in the street on N.Plaza!
I experienced first-hand back in 2000 as Mayor when a slight breakage on the new paved Houghton Road, turned into a ravine, washing the road away. Two weeks went by with no repairs, causing the trickle to get worse every day. Houghton had to be repaired, this time at Cleveland Water’s expense. The gusher currently on North Plaza reminds me of what occurred on Houghton. In time North Plaza will erode, and crumble if not fixed soon! I just hope your house doesn’t catch on fire, and the hydrant near your house works. Someone from the Cleveland Water Department will have some explaining to do why the residents lost their house, or worse loved ones!
Update: On Wednesday (5-24) Cleveland Water Department finally appeared around 6 pm at the N. Plaza breakage site to drill some holes into the pavement. The crew finally showed up when Mayor Nehez yet again called the Water Department to fix the breakage. The Mayor also threatened to call channel 5. The Water Department told Mayor Nehez this was the first report they had on file at this site. Service Director Jason Walters and Mayor Nehez have documented five previous requests in 11 days they have called for service. Perhaps the threat of a TV crew got their attention? Three hours later the water was still gushing down N.Plaza towards Rt.8. What was accomplished by the drilling is unknown.
Moose Lodge Water Update. The Northfield Moose Lodge several months ago was presented with an $18,000 (see previous story) water/sewer bill. The Cleveland Water Department maintains that was an actual reading per the meter. Obviously that usage figure was erroneous. But the Water Department denies this, and now has a lien attached to the building through Summit County for payment. Litigation in court is coming soon.