Meeting on removing Lisbon dam set

LISBON – Want to know more about plans to demolish the dam at Willow Grove Park?

A community event is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 24 at the park, where officials from the government agencies seeking to demolish the dam – the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – will be present to explain their plans and answer questions from the public.

In case of rain, the event will be held the same time July 31.

Village Council adopted a resolution last month committing to the proposed plan, which the state and federal government will try to get funded entirely with money from a “compensatory settlement” they intend to reach with the current owners of a former chemical plant located about 10 miles upstream of the park near Salem. The plant was responsible for chemical contamination of the Middle Fork of the Little Beaver Creek from Salem to Lisbon.

The community event was announced at Tuesday’s council meeting, but beforehand Councilman Joe Morenz – who was the only one to vote against demolishing the dam – expressed his misgivings about the resolution. At the time, officials told council it can still back out, but Morenz is not so sure. Based on his reading of the resolution, he believes the village irrevocably committed to demolishing the dam by passing the resolution.

The state and federal officials pushing the project say removing the dam would restore the natural flow to the creek and, in doing so, improve the habitat for fish and other aquatic life by eliminating the slack pool of water created above the dam.