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Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Deciding not to take position on lowering lake water level

By Nancy Allen
Following a lengthy discussion, Lake Development Corporation (LDC) members decided not to take a formal position on lowering the level of Grand Lake, deciding it is a management decision that rests with the state.
A suggestion by LDC member Milt Miller to send a letter to residents in the Northwood subdivision on the lake's north side prompted the discussion. Some of the residents have experienced flooding in recent weeks due to unusually heavy rain. They are circulating a petition to send to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources asking the state to lower the lake's level in the fall and winter months so when or if spring rains come, flooding would be lessened.
There are two, 60-inch tubes at the base of the spillway that can be opened to let additional water out of the lake into Beaver Creek besides the water that exits the lake over the spillway.
Miller's letter would have encouraged Northwood residents to work through existing lake groups, like the LDC, to solve lake-related issues instead of forming their own splinter group to address lake issues.
The Northwood group claims the flooding of their lakefront homes lasts longer since the new spillway opened, Miller said.
"I felt this was a good way to increase our membership by encouraging them to work with us, but if it would make it look like we are taking a stand on the issue, then I won't send the letter," Miller said.
LDC member Bob Grimm agreed.
"I don't think it's politically wise for this group to take a stand on this issue," Grimm said, adding that the state is involved in two lawsuits over flooding related to the new spillway.
LDC member Matt Schwieterman said the amount of rain received this fall is higher than normal, and that there are areas around the lake that have flooded for years, even before the new spillway on the West Bank began operating in 1997.
The LDC intends to send Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland an invitation to the LDC's annual Legislative Day on the Lake planned for June 14 at Wright State University-Lake Campus.
The event is used to pitch lake-related issues to local legislators and state officials and gather information about lake issues.
"We think if we can get him on the lake, that's key," said Greg Schumm, associate dean at the Lake Campus and also an LDC member. "The lake will speak for itself as far as its beauty as well as some other issues."
Additional online story on this date
Mercer County commissioners purchased 20.7 acres of land due west of the Mercer County Fairgrounds during their regular session this morning.
The property owned by John Mark Speicher sold for $6,500 an acre or about $134,550. [More]
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