By a majority vote, Shaker Heights City Council has passed a resolution in support of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) recommendation to remove the dam at Horseshoe Lake, restore two stream channels of the Doan Brook, and rebuild the dam at Lower Lake. The total cost, estimated to be $28.3 million, will be funded by the NEORSD Regional Storm water Management Program. The vote on the resolution took place at a City Council meeting held on Monday, September 27.
The decision was reached after careful review of the NEORSD recommendation and the analysis that guided it, as well as input from five public meetings. This recommendation of NEORSD was generated as part of its Stormwater Master Plan for this watershed area. This regional plan was developed by NEORSD over the past three years at a cost of approximately $10M.
“Council and I have spent many months considering NEORSD’s recommendations, questioning the experts at the Sewer District, scrutinizing the analysis, and listening carefully to public input on all sides of this issue. There is no question that the dam at Horseshoe Lake is in active failure and poses an immediate threat to the safety of Shaker residents and those downstream. As a paramount duty to our community, I have concluded that we need to take action now to protect life and property. I believe the Sewer District’s recommendations are the right long term solution when weighing the key considerations of safety, the environment, financial sustainability, and addressing regional issues through regional solutions,” said Mayor David Weiss.
Vice Mayor Tres Roeder agreed, saying, “As is the tradition in Shaker Heights, residents engaged in a thoughtful and thorough debate about the merits of this recommendation. We are grateful for the input. After careful consideration, we feel the urgent need to make a decision to ensure public safety and move toward an environmentally and fiscally sustainable solution.”
NEORSD’s investment of $28.3 million in this project and the resulting removal of the dam eliminates the City’s significant financial and legal obligation to bring this Class I dam into compliance and maintain it as required by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. In addition to ensuring public safety, it simultaneously meets the Sewer District’s goals of flood control and regional stormwater management, advances the City’s goal to seek regional solutions, and creates a new public amenity for residents.