YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you drive down Jacobs Road on the East Side of Youngstown and across the bridge, you may notice that McKelvey Lake has less water in it than normal.

This is due to repair work that is being done to the dam, according to Second Ward Councilman Jimmy Hughes.

The lake water will be lowered by seven to eight feet while the work is being done. Hughes said the work on the dam actually began months ago, but it’s more noticeable now to people driving by because the water is now being drained.

In 2020, it was announced that the city of Youngstown would buy the lake from Aqua Ohio because it no longer had need of it.

“It was put in place back in 1926 to supply water to manufacturers, steel mills in the area. It really hasn’t been used for that since the 1980s, we have no use for the lake or to maintain it. Really we think a property like that should be used in its highest and best application. We don’t need it, and I think the city has a vision for its use at some point,” said Aqua Ohio Spokesperson Jeff La Rue said.

However, there was work that needed to be done, and the agreement was made that Aqua would carry that out before the sale.

“What our contractors are doing is replacing the lake drain valves and piping that were original to the lake, they’ve been in service in 1926, so as you can imagine nearly a hundred years old, it’s time for them to be replaced,” La Rue said.

Aqua is spending about $1.5 million to make the repairs.

On Oak Street Extension, you can see where a part of the lake is completely dry and there are turtles walking around in the mud. There is also trash and debris on the lake floor.

One man walking on the shore found two guns within minutes. One appeared to be a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun and the other gun was also a semiautomatic. The .45 was covered in rust while the serial number is still visible on the other gun.

Police were called and took both guns.

  • Guns at McKelvey Lake
  • McKelvey Lake
  • The same man who found the first handgun found this handgun also at McKelvey Lake today after the lake has been drained several feet. Police were called and took possession of both guns.
  • An example of the some of the debris in McKelvey Lake now visible since draining on the lake began recently.
  • This object was visible from the Oak Street Extension Bridge after this portion of McKelvey Lake has been almost completely drained of water.

Several people were seen fishing at the lake. Others who drove by slowed down or stopped to grab some photos, a few of them saying they’ve never seen the water so low.

One Youngstown Police Officer who was at the lake said he’s gone diving more than 40 times in the lake over the years and hasn’t seen it this low in 30 years.

La Rue says the work should be completed in the fall, at which time it will be handed over to the city. It’s not clear if the city plans to refill the lake once they take ownership.