On Wednesday, Buckeye Lake Brewery sponsored a "Shut the Spillway and Make It Rain" party in the hopes of coaxing Mother Nature to send enough spring precipitation to replenish the lake. With each additional inch of water, the spirits and fortunes of Buckeye Lake's residents will rise.
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Keeping you up-to-date on the new Dam Construction at Buckeye Lake, Ohio
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Editorial: More good news for Buckeye Lake
Saturday Posted Mar 4, 2017 at 12:00 PM
This week, the spillways were closed to allow Buckeye Lake to begin refilling, with the goal of allowing it to rise to 5 feet, 1 foot below the normal level. At the same time, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources predicted that a new dam that is under construction will be completed by autumn of 2018, a year ahead of schedule.
Both are good news for Buckeye Lake residents and businesses, which have suffered for two years since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that the dam dating to 1830 that created the lake was in danger of breach, potentially unleashing a devastating flood. In response the lake was drained while a new seepage barrier and dam are constructed. The lower lake level virtually eliminated the boating and other recreational activities that are vital to the local community.
The lake refill is possible thanks to the completion of the seepage barrier. The construction of the new dam will commence next month. Area residents and businesses hope the refill will restore recreational use of the lake for this summer.
The state is spending $110 million to replace the dam, and despite the economic pain the community has endured, the result should make for an enhanced Buckeye Lake. The new dam will be capped with grass and a paved track for pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists. Lakeside homeowners who were required to remove boat docks attached to the old dam will be able to replace them when the new dam is completed.
Completion of the dam should energize development around the lake. Thorn Township trustees already are planning a 5-acre park at the southeast end of the lake that they hope will spur additional development.
The Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society is raising money for the conversion of a new tour boat to be dubbed the Queen of the Lake III. The predecessor, Queen of the Lake II, carried as many as 50,000 passengers a year on lake tours that generated much of the income for the historical society. The new craft is an 88-foot, two-level sternwheeler that will be offer tours, dinner cruises and private charters.
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