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Summit County Judge Orders Formation of Yellow Creek Conservancy Court

Photo of flooding in Kent
Mark Spisak, director of the Yellow Creek Foundation, says flooding last summer destroyed trails and bridges in O'Neil Woods Metro Park.

A Summit County judge is ordering the formation of the Yellow Creek Conservancy Court to determine whether the flood-prone area in western Summit County warrants its own watershed district.

After heavy rains flooded homes, residents in the Yellow Creek area stepped up to do something about it.

Mark Spisak is the director of the Yellow Creek Foundation. He said establishing a conservancy district will make it easier to manage the creek’s flow and curb erosion.

"It’s a regional approach that’s defined by the watershed boundaries rather than the municipal boundaries, so that there can be some smart money being spent all the way from the top to the bottom," he said.

Heavy rains this summer left many areas of Summit County flooded. Spisak said people who live by Yellow Creek were hit especially hard with flooded basements and public parks left in shambles.

The proposal establishing a watershed conservancy district has garnered some opposition. Citizens for Yellow Creek opposes the formation of a district, calling it a potential burden on property owners within the district's boundary.

The group also alleges people signed the supporting petition without knowing the implications of forming a conservancy district. Implications listed include the power of the governing board to levy fees on property owners within the district and exercise eminent domain.

Mayors of Akron, Fairlawn and Richfield Village have all written to Bath Township trustees to request their cities be excluded from the proposed district.