Tornado recovery costs put pressure on Harrison Twp. budget

A Year of Recovery

HARRISON TWP, Ohio (WDTN) – Tornadoes that ripped right through Sinclair Park left trees splintered, bent and twisted.

“It was scary. We didn’t even make it to the basement. It just came on so fast,” Margaret Ogg, a Harrison Township resident.

Ogg said her neighborhood has changed since Memorial Day. 

“It was cooler down here when we had more trees. It was prettier,” said Ogg.

Prior to the storm, more than 400 trees stood tall at Sinclair Park.  Now, only 40 are left. It could take up to two years for the park to re-open because of the extent of the damage.

“This park, under normal conditions, is probably 75 percent shaded,” said Merle Cyphers, services director for Harrison Township.

Cyphers said it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove downed trees.  The total cost for township clean up could end up being between $4 million and $6 million. The township’s annual budget sits at about $15 million.

“Even at $4.5 million, it would be a hit that would be difficult for the township to carry on without outside assistance from the state or federal government,” Cyphers said.

With a disaster designation, Cyphers said FEMA could cover up to 75 percent of recovery costs. 

“We feel that most of the things that we have incurred cost-wise will be covered by FEMA,” Cyphers said.

Cyphers said the township will pick up curb side debris until July 18.

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