Complete Question: Past circumstances led Horseshoe Lake to be classified as a Class 1 dam. Given NEORSD’s reworking of the Lower Lake dam, if non NEORSD funds are raised to pay for it, can Horseshoe Lake be rebuit as a Class 4 dam (in other words, 50 acre feet or less and therefore exempt from permit requirements and related costs)? If not, why?
Answer: Per ODNR regulations, a dam is exempt from jurisdiction if it is 6 feet or less in height regardless of storage volume; less than 10 feet in height with no more than 50 acre-feet of total storage volume, or not more than 15 acre-feet of total storage volume regardless of height. The current dam height is 29'. The existing, approximately 20 feet of sediment depth within the Lake would need to be addressed (removed) to lower the dam height to 6 feet, or lowered to 10 feet in height if impounding less than 50 acre-feet of storage volume. Either dam lowering scenario (to a height of 6 feet or less, or 10 feet) would require full dam replacement and significant sediment removal. Lake sediment deposit removal greater than approximately 8 feet in depth was not cost estimated by NEORSD.
Show All Answers
Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) are only required on Federal projects per the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act. This is not a Federal project and an EIS is not required. However, this project will require Federal permitting through the Army Corps. Of Engineers.
Complete Question: Residents rely on the trails surrounding Horseshoe Park for fitness and transportation. Breaking the loop around the park by eliminating the dam and spillway will force residents to rely on Park Drive and Lee Road, which are more dangerous and less scenic. Will the city fund both a temporary and, eventually, permanent bridge over the marshland (the former lake) to facilitate use of this important space that Shaker residents have fought hard for, treasured, and grown accustomed to?
Answer: Yes. The walkway around the lake will remain. We expect the walkway connecting North and South Park will be rebuilt in some form. Resident input about the walkway during the design phase will be considered. Please note: The existing walkway currently is and will remain closed until further notice due to deteriorating and dangerous existing conditions.
A rebuilt Horseshoe Lake (meeting the ODNR requirements @$20.7 million) would have the same amount of active storage volume as the existing Horseshoe Lake, with an average depth of 8 feet. The Stormwater Master Plan analysis found that the active storage volume has no tangible downstream flood control benefit.
NEORSD has investigated federal and state grant funding programs and determined that limited to no grant dollars are programmed for hazard dam replacement.
Complete Question: NEORSD cited cost for Horseshoe of $6 mil, then $20 mil in a clarification response; then Cleveland.com story cites $30 mil. We need independent cost assessment. The lake has been drained for 2 yrs, so why the pressure to proceed before real costs can be assessed and funding sought? Also, no lake will mean less appeal, less visitation, fewer bird species, lower property values, and potential crime without visibility from the street.
Answer: The dam is in active failure mode and necessitates prompt action. NEORSD's proposed plan includes removal of the dam at Horseshoe Lake, full restoration of Doan Brook and eventual replacement of the dam at Lower Lake. The cost for this plan is $28.3 million as presented to the communities during the June 2021 joint municipal public meetings. To replace the dam at Horseshoe Lake, the estimated cost is $20.7 million, plus annual maintenance costs, borne by the Cities of Shaker and Cleveland Heights. NEORSD can not fund this solution due to insignificant flood control and regional stormwater benefit to the region. The eventual replacement of Lower Lake's dam is $13.6 million; this is how the cleveland.com story cited a $34.3 million cost for replacement of both dams ($20.7M + $13.6M = $34.3M).
Complete Question: Why so much money? From my past recollection of 3 yrs. ago, NEOSD advised that fixing the dam & watershed issue at Horseshoe Lake would cost $6M. As part of that discussion, NEOSD would pick up the tab. Now, with a drained lake, NEOSD states that the cost of fixing the dam would be in excess of $21M. AND, even though Customers in NEO have been paying 3-times what was assessed prior to ‘Save the Watershed’, we [Shaker Hts & Cle Hts] are told that “you [S.H. & C.H.] need to pick up the
Answer: The initial estimate involved repairs to the existing spillway and the installation of overtopping protection. The worsening dam conditions around the spillway caused a reassessment that dam reconstruction or dam removal were the only options to ensure public health and safety. As part of the reassessment, sediment testing and analysis indicated the need for extensive sediment handling and removal to facilitate either dam reconstruction or dam removal.
Complete Question: If the horsehoe Lake is eliminated, will the new dam at the lower lake have to be gigantic in order to handle the water from the Horse Lake area, and what will that mean to the integrity of historic site and the neighborhood asthetics?
Answer: Horseshoe Lake does not provide much active storage and therefore it's removal would not impact the design or size of the Lower Lake dam when it is reconstructed. Lower Lake dam is also a Class I dam regulated by ODNR and passes only 2% of the design flood that is required by Ohio Revised Code. In order to properly reconstruct the dam to meet current regulations the overall appearance and configuration of the dam will have to be altered.
Complete Question: The Shaker Lakes represent far more to our community than a means of flood control. They are a place of community, a wildlife refuge, an important historical location, and much more. Not maintaining this irreplaceable community resource is as irresponsible, reprehensible and shortsighted as was the plan to build a highway on this site years ago. As a longtime resident of Shaker, I ask you who is being served by the penny wise and pound foolish policy of viewing this resource in this way?
Answer: The NEORSD recommendation seeks to balance safety, responsible stormwater management, cost, preservation of the environment, and the creation of a community amenity. Our goal is to balance these and other considerations that will best serve the community now and in the future.
Complete Question: Since boating, swimming and fishing are going to be permitted in Lower Lake, the fleeing nesting and breeding wildlife that need a lake environment will need a protected refuge; since Marshall and Green Lake are too small and built upon, wouldn't Upper Horseshoe Lake be the only and best place for that?
Answer: One goal of the NEORSD recommendation for Horseshoe Lake is to restore the area to its original natural state and allow for birds and fish to thrive in their natural environment.
Complete Question: If NEORSD removes Horseshoe dam and Lake, then the resulting new dam at Lower Lake will need to be much larger, destroying the beauty and historical significance of the present restoration. Wouldn't restoring the existing 2 dams be the more secure and beautiful option? Furthermore, the 2-mile, 20' wide, multi-million dollar Doan Tunnel already being built in Ambler Park is immense. Assuming that holds enough storm water to solve the problem of flooding in University Circle, why has NEORSD stated that Horseshoe Lake has to be removed to solve flooding there?
Answer: The design and materials originally used to construct Horseshoe and Lower Lake Dams do not meet the current safety standards for a Class I dam. ODNR Dam Safety Program requires modern engineering and materials specifications to ensure the protection of life and property per the Ohio Revised Code. The Doan Valley Tunnel was constructed to control combined sewer overflows at 11 locations along Doan Brook; the tunnel was not constructed to mitigate flooding along the brook.
Complete Question: How can we let Horseshoe lake disappear! Maybe the Sewer district says the lake isn't worth fixing but do they live here? Do they realize what Shakerites went through long ago to make sure a highway didn't run through Shaker - taking ALL of the lakes away?! This community thrives on having these lakes as a lifestyle, a place of peace, water to soothe the soul! Not to mention the people that live around the lake and have that as an asset when selling - it's hard enough with the high taxes - at least let the lake be an asset for homeowners/sellers. And who say's they won't take the other lakes around the Heights area. This sets a bad precedent and needs to be readdressed immediately. Thank you -
Answer: Protecting the beauty of the Shaker Lakes and parklands and continuing to ensure they are a destination for hikers, bird watchers and picnickers is a priority for both cities as well as NEORSD and other stakeholders. The two cities, along with ample opportunity for community input, will work with NEORSD throughout the process to ensure that our lakes and parklands remain a beautiful asset for our communities and the region.
Complete Question: Was heavy machinery used to on the bridge and deck at Horseshoe Lake dam for recent parapet work and could that have contributed to further and more drastic deterioration and weakening of the dam and spillway?
Answer: The equipment used to make the recent repairs to the observation deck would have had minimal, if any, impact on the structure. The forces of the equipment on the deck are more vertical in nature. It is our understanding, the structural instability of the dam and spillway structure are primarily a result of the hydraulic pressure (which is horizontal). While backfilling the excavation, we purposely placed material in lifts to minimize the hydraulic pressure. Also, the material used did not require any a vibratory equipment for compaction as this may have led to additional damage.
Complete Question: In the early going shortly after Horseshoe Lake was drained, could earth-moving equipment have been brought in (from North Park or South Park or the park itself) to remove the silt and dig out more potential depth in the lake bed to reduce strain and water pressure on the dam during storms?
Answer: No. This would not have made an appreciable difference, as the lake would still have overtopped in a heavy rainfall. In addition, with more water, more pressure would have been put on the dam.