Geneva-on-the-Lake declares erosion emergency as the community battles for its beach

Geneva-on-the-Lake declares erosion emergency as the community battles for its beach
Geneva-on-the-Lake declares erosion emergency amid a battle for its beach

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With Lake Erie at its highest level since 1986, the shoreline at Geneva Township Park has eroded at an alarming rate; 35 feet in less than a week with no sign of letting up.

The erosion is bringing people to the area to see what’s happening.

“I wanted to take a look at the damage done by ‘The Beast’ today," says Geneva-on-the-Lake resident Terry Paradise of Lake Erie. “I like call it ‘Beauty and the Beast.' It’s the most beautiful asset we have in Northeast Ohio, but it does a lot of damage.”

Geneva-on-the-Lake declares erosion emergency amid a battle for its beach

Paradise and others saw a clod of earth ripped from the shoreline over the weekend, and over the last several years, an entire beach gone.

"There was a beautiful beach here just a couple years ago," says Councilman Pete Macchia. "The erosion has just taken a huge effect on Township Park. It’s very sad”

"In the first picture, you can see you can actually walk down," says Village Administrator Jeremy Schaffer, comparing an aerial from 2018 to the one today.

“This one, it actually has dropped and cut in. You can’t get to the water of the beach or anything.”

The resort town of 1,200 swells to 50,000 people during peak season, all for one reason.

“Everybody comes to Geneva-on-the Lake for the water," says Macchia. "To see the lake, to touch the lake, to taste the water. It’s absolutely amazing”

The community will vote on a levy March 17 for plans to stop the erosion while looking for other ways to try to rebuild what the lake has taken. There’s also infrastructure issues, including storm, sewer, and water lines at stake.

“There’s gotta be a sense of urgency, at this point in time," says Paradise. “It’s gotta get done really quickly."

The village will hold a meeting on the situation at 6 p.m. on Monday before their regular council meeting.

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