Residents start petition to try and save Coalburg Lake
Hundreds of people are singing a petition to save Coalburg Lake.
The lake is more than 100 years old and state officials have previously said its dam needs repairs. With no one stepping up to pay the millions it would cost to fix, residents fear the rumors about removing the dam and draining the lake will actually happen - and soon.
“We care about the lake. We care about wildlife . We care about the ecosystem,” Mary Lou Reder, who lives on Coalburg Lake said. “The fish and turtles and the bald eagles … there's all kinds of different animals that live in the back.”
The lake is privately owned by Coalburg Land Partners. The Hubbard Township Trustees considered buying the lake years ago but the township didn't have the money to invest in the repairs for the dam or the high insurance costs that came along with ownership.
“Trustees are in between the state and the property owners. We really don't have much that we can do,” Rick Hernandez, Hubbard Township Trustee said.
The trustees went through many options to try and save the lake. They held public meetings for residents, reached out to Brookfield Township to band together, and reached out to MetroParks to see if they were interested in buying the land - but all efforts failed.
Hernandez has heard that ODNR and the private owners have reached an agreement to remove the dam and drain the lake by September of 2024, but ODNR could not confirm that to 21 News at the time of publishing.
Render believes plans are closer than ever to being finished.
“This is real, this is really happening, they're going to drain that lake,” Render said.
Hernandez believes that ODNR’s efforts to remove the dam stem from the Kinsman Dam break in 2019 that washed away houses and businesses leaving dozens with nothing.
“They are getting all these dams and lumping them together regardless of whether we feel they’re strong enough to hold back those waters or not and they’re breaching the dams,” Hernandez said.
If the lake is wiped out, there are concerns over who would clean up the hundreds of acres of land left behind.
“Who's going to remediate that dam, the basin of that dam that becomes like quick sand in there,” Hernandez said about the mud at the bottom of the lake.
Residents who live on the lake are making one last ditch effort to save it by trying to form a nonprofit organization and applying for grant money to pay for the dam to be fixed.
“We want to protect it,” Retton said.
“Always power in numbers if the residents stand up and we band together and then bring this at a state level, maybe to the federal level, maybe there's some hope,” Hernandez said.
The petition to save the lake can be signed by anyone at KT’s Coffee Talk at 218 North Main Street in Hubbard.