BUCKEYE LAKE – This spring’s relentless rainfall is swamping Buckeye Lake streets, although there may be some relief in sight.
Monday night, M•E Companies Vice President Kevin Wood told Buckeye Lake Village Council members that his engineering firm, which designed the village’s public water distribution system, has helped secure substantial grant funding and a no interest loan for the first phase of a storm water drainage project. Wood hopes construction on the first phase may begin later this year; the first phase will cost roughly $503,000.
“Storm water drainage is an ongoing issue in the village,” said Wood. He said the village would receive about $358,000 from an Ohio Public Works Commission grant, a roughly $119,000 no interest loan, and the village would contribute around $25,000 toward the project, which will include 3,688 feet of storm water lines and 26 catch basins. “That’s a nice chunk of grant payment,” said Wood.
The first phase of drainage line would extend south along Hebron Road from the village limit to Highland Avenue There’s also an extension from Hebron Road east along 6th Avenue then south on North Bank Road. The system will discharge into Waste Weir Run near the Buckeye Lake Fire Station.
Wood said construction crews would have to cut into Buckeye Lake’s newly paved streets in some spots, but the streets would be restored quickly. He said M•E Companies would work to find funding for future phases of the project.
Buckeye Lake Service Director Tim Matheny said there’s no more specific information about the drainage system because it’s still in the planning stages and isn’t yet engineered.
“This is really a great surprise,” said Council President Charlene Hayden, who said she didn’t expect the funding. “This is a great opportunity for us.”
Mayor Rick Baker said there would be some traffic disruption when the storm sewer lines are installed, but far less than during the installation of the village’s water distribution system.
In other village news:
• Who knew that the Buckeye Lake area has more inland freshwater lighthouses than anywhere else in the United States and possibly the world? Author Ron Schooling does – that’s who! The author is contacting lighthouse owners around the lake, including Baker, as he writes a book about American lighthouses.
“Buckeye Lake could easily change its theme to Inland Lighthouse Capital,” said Schooling, “with the highest concentration of freshwater lighthouses in the nation, even above Lake Havasu, Arizona and California, and above Storm Lake, Iowa.” He believes promoting Buckeye Lake nationally for its lighthouses could improve tourism. “The…promotion would do wonders for Buckeye Lake, especially its central location and that amazing peat bog island with carnivorous plants, orchids and cranberries. My God man, you’ve got it all,” Schooling said in an email to Baker. Buckeye Lake has six lighthouses, one more than Lake Havasu.
• Hayden said John Sproat, who is coordinating a Buckeye Lake summer festival, attended the May 3 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to discuss his plans. He said the June 9 through 12 festival at Ryan/ Braden Park will feature several rides, food vendors, and entertainment. “Please get the word out to your families and friends so we will have good attendance and, hopefully, make this an annual event in our village,” said Hayden.
• Rickie Grunden, president of the Cranberry Bay Homeowners Association, also attended the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to discuss her plan to establish and an children’s fishing tournament. She’s attending an ODNR session that explains how to create such an event. Hayden said Grunden is from Grand Lake St. Marys in Western Ohio, where a similar tournament was held an- nually. Hayden said a fishing gear business generally backs the tournament and offers children a free rod and reel at the tournament’s end. “This event could bring a number of people into our area and they, in turn, will patronize our businesses,” she said.