Horseshoe Lake supporters demand cities save it

On April 20, Friends of Horseshoe Lake (FOHSL) issued demand letters to Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, claiming that the cities have failed to follow the terms of the lease agreement for Horseshoe Lake and make necessary repairs to restore the dam and lake.

FOHSL is working with the law firm Mansour Gavin to keep the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) from destroying the dam and lake.

"Horseshoe Lake is leased to Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights by the city of Cleveland, and the Sewer District’s plan to destroy the lake is in direct violation of several of the stipulations within that lease, including an agreement to not disturb any existing conditions, which would include the dam and lake, [to] dredge and clean the lakes, and to be responsible for any improvements necessary to maintaining the park," said Anthony Coyne, an attorney specializing in land use issues.

NEORSD concluded two years ago that the Horseshoe Lake dam could not be replaced, and the only solution was to remove the dam and convert the lake to a floodplain.

FOHSL has been working with the engineering firm TRC to develop a Horseshoe Lake Restoration Plan that manages stormwater safely, addresses environmental issues, and saves the historic dam and lake while costing the same [as the NEORSD plan].

The cities and the Sewer District have not responded to FOHSL's request [that they] consider its plan, leading FOHSL to issue the demand letters on behalf of taxpayers in the Heights.

The letters demand that Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights cease any and all activities being performed to remove Horseshoe Lake or its dam, and take immediate steps to enforce the terms of the lease and restore and repair the dam and the lake.

The letters asked the cities to respond within 10 days. The cities have since requested an extension.

"We hope that the demand letter will open the door for FOHSL, the cities, and the Sewer District to work together on finding a mutually agreeable plan to save this treasured asset while addressing environmental concerns," stated Coyne. "But we are also prepared to take the next steps in our legal plan if need be.”

Ken Callahan

Ken Callahan is a member of the board of FOHSL.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 10:33 AM, 06.01.2023