Hey, where's my lake?

Last month the circus came to town. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District had a “public-engagement” open house at Shaker Lakes, complete with seven tents.

“Join the design team as we envision how we can bring the natural environment back to the Brook,” read the sewer district’s publicity. 

So now we’re supposed to call Horseshoe Lake a Brook (capital B, at that) to get back to the primordial “natural environment.” Should we all live in goatskin lean-tos and get rid of our paved roads, too? Cain Park should be a brook, too.

I like man-made things, like Horseshoe Lake, which the Shaker religious sect made by damming Doan Brook 170 years ago. One more example of a pleasant nearby man-made amenity: Cumberland Pool. Johnny Weissmuller once swam there. The pool is a treasure. Why? Because it looks like it did when Johnny Weissmuller swam there. Some things of beauty should stay that way. Want to knock down the Cleveland Museum of Art’s 1916 main building and give it a re-make?

Nobody ever lost his life in a flood at Shaker Lakes. Why are we going all nanny-state to make sure the dam is 110% safe? Again, nobody ever—in the Heights or University Circle—lost her life in a flood in the history of Shaker Lakes.

There is a Talmudic precept “whoever saves one life, saves the entire world.” But come on, this coddling is ridiculous.

The sewer district, plus the Ohio Department of Nature Resources, fears flooding under the Rapid Transit bridge in University Circle, where there is one apartment building—one—that might get flooded. Somebody should buy that old University Circle brick apartment building and vacate the ground floor, pour concrete in it, and call it a day. (I’m doing that tomorrow! Joke.) Make the old building look like the science fortresses around that part of University Circle. We’ll be fine.

The sewer board hired a landscape architect from Cambridge, Mass. One of the firm’s owners is Lauren Stimson, who, according to her firm’s website, “has a deep love for New England, where she was raised, and an interest in the overlap between the built environment and the rural landscape.” Gotta love New England. And here in Ohio, we have locals with a deep love of Cleveland—locals with the common sense to realize we have a beautiful lake, and it should stay that way.

Friends of Horseshoe Lake (see https://savehorseshoelake.com) has hired an engineering firm, public-relations firm, and a law firm to fight for the preservation of Horseshoe Lake. That’s a battle worth fighting. 

Bert Stratton

Bert Stratton is a writer who lives in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 11:20 AM, 08.31.2022