Horseshoe Lake supporters file lawsuit

Friends of Horseshoe Lake (FOHSL) has taken the next step in a legal effort, filing a lawsuit against the cities of Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights to prevent the destruction of Horseshoe Lake by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD).

This lawsuit follows demand letters issued by FOHSL to both cities, citing violations of their lease agreements with the city of Cleveland.

According to attorney Anthony Coyne, a land use expert with the law firm Mansour Gavin that is representing FOHL, the lease agreements require Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights to preserve the existing conditions, which include the dam and lake; perform necessary maintenance, such as dredging and cleaning; and undertake any required improvements to ensure the park's upkeep. Coyne has stated that the NEORSD's proposed destruction of the lake blatantly violates several provisions within the leases.

FOHSL has been actively involved in efforts to protect Horseshoe Lake since the sewer district announced plans to demolish the lake and dam two years ago.

Collaborating with engineering experts TRC, FOHSL developed a comprehensive Horseshoe Lake Restoration Plan that not only preserves the lake but also addresses environmental, safety, and cost concerns.

The plan has been presented to NEORSD and the cities multiple times. However, despite FOHSL's efforts, the sewer district has persistently pursued its plan to destroy the lake, refusing to consider any alternatives that involve repairing the dam. Its plan could stick taxpayers with millions in costs for improvements and maintenance.

The lawsuit marks a significant turning point in the ongoing battle to protect the lake. FOHSL supporters are determined to safeguard this natural treasure for future generations.

"We had hoped that the demand letters would foster collaboration between FOHSL, the cities, and the sewer district to find a mutually agreeable plan for Horseshoe Lake. Unfortunately, the joint response from the cities refuted the allegations of lease violations, leaving us with no choice but to escalate our legal strategy. We are now seeking injunctive relief from the courts to preserve this cherished asset," said Coyne.

William Hopkins

William Hopkins is a retired teacher and landscape architect, and is a member of Friends of Horseshoe Lake.

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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 1:30 PM, 07.31.2023