Lake Erie shoreline residents ask officials what to do if erosion damages property


Dozens of concerned residents packed Geneva-on-the-Lake Village Hall for an emergency meeting

GENEVA ON THE LAKE, Ohio (WJW) – The coastline of one Northeast Ohio town is falling into Lake Erie, sometimes at a rate of 7 or 8 feet a day.

The problem? It’s been too warm for the lake to freeze. In some places, there’s no shoreline. Monday evening, there was a meeting to talk about it.

“We live in Mapleton Beach and we’re all private, so we have to pay all this ourselves. Right now, we’re looking at over $100,000 to repair our shoreline,” one attendee said.

Dozens of concerned residents packed Geneva-on-the-Lake Village Hall for an emergency meeting. They wanted to hear what local officials are doing about severe erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline.

“If we do all the stuff that’s been damaged by the accelerated erosion for the village and the Township Park — and this is just a beginning fix, this isn’t a total fix, this is to hold it off for a year or so — we’re looking at $1.2 million,” said Jeremy Shaffer, village administrator.

Recently, land at Township Park has been sliding into the lake. First, a few feet at a time. Then, 45 feet within two and a half weeks. Then, another 10 more feet since Thursday.

“There are 15 houses to the north and 14 houses to the south of the street that, if the roadside continues to slide in the lake, that we will have to isolate, shut the gas off to those places,” Shaffer said.

“It destroyed our property up on the front, that whole cement, it just destroyed the cement. I mean, how many tons of cement? It just broke it up like a bomb,” said resident Tanya Tilumeli.

Tilumeli’s uncle lives in a home on Old Lake Road that has been in her family for decades.

“About six or seven of us have talked about trying to go in to try to alleviate or bring that cost down by going in and working with a contractor to do that,” said resident Mark Fisher.

The village is considering several financial solutions — a levy, grants, state and federal help — but right now, none of them are guaranteed and they could only be used for public projects.

“If they don’t get the levy, I don’t know where we’re gonna find the money,” one meeting attendee said.

“It’s good to hear that they’re trying to do something … This is not a community with a lot of money,” Tilumeli said.

Village officials say lake erosion has been a problem for some time now. They are hoping for a solution in the near future.

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