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Friends trying to clear water route to Copper Penny

THORNVILLE – The Copper Penny tavern is in a Catch-22. The low water level during Buckeye Lake dam reconstruction is providing the tavern with a once in a lifetime opportunity to join in with its neighbors, who are cleaning out the canals for the first time since they were dug, but the low water level has also severely limited boat traffic and the Copper Penny’s businesses to where it can’t afford to participate.

Resident Pam McKenzie decided to do something about it. “Time is of the essence,” she said. “We have a rare opportunity to have the docks and canal dug out at the Penny while the lake level is at an all time low and the digging equipment is in the area.”

McKenzie said Copper Penny owners have taken an economic blow with the re-building of the earthen dam and quite simply do not have the resources to pay for the digging. “We need everyone to get on board and help fund this ‘dig-out’ for such a Buckeye Lake landmark. Please share this with everyone you know as memories of Buckeye Lake and the Copper Penny reach far and wide. Please do this today as the equipment is very close and we don’t want to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.”

McKenzie said a similar message appears on a Friends of the Copper Penny Facebook page recently created to help attract donations.

Copper Penny owner Jeffrey Reed, for his part, sincerely appreciates McKenzie’s efforts. “Thank you to all the helped to clean up the canal leading into the Copper Penny,” he said. “This will help everyone that wants to enjoy the lake and come to spend time here.”

Residents along two canals north of Honey Creek Road, near the Copper Penny tavern, are pooling their resources to clean out the canals while water levels are low. That effort is called the Buckeye Lake Holiday Harbors Canal East Channel Project.

McKenzie said Wednesday, after the Facebook page had only been up for a day, Friends of the Copper Penny received donations from Lobo Farms and Slone’s Tree Service, with plenty of others promising donations.

She said she already had roughly 200 shares and the Facebook page is enjoying quite a bit of attention. “All of my comments on Facebook have been positive,” McKenzie said. “We have our fingers crossed.” She said she only has a week or 10 days to collect as much money as possible. “It’s like really close,” McKenzie said. The fundraiser also appears on the Save Buckeye Lake Facebook page.

Thorn Township Trustee Robert Coleman, who, as a homeowner, is participating in the Buckeye Lake Holiday Harbors Canal East Channel Project, said the canals are private based on a lawsuit from 1975, whereby the residents of the time requested the canals to be privately owned. “The judge ruled for the people,” Coleman said. “From that point on, they remain private channels.”

As private channels, they are not eligible for any state funding, even though the public uses the channels.

McKenzie said in addition to online fundraising, there will be a donation jar at the Copper Penny as well as raffles and 50/50 at the Copper Penny the next couple weekends. She said she can be reached at (740) 246-6620 and checks should be made payable to the Friends of Buckeye Lake, and mailed to same name P.O. BOX 392, Thornville, Ohio 43076.

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