GIRARD Mayor: Draining, breaching dam is best option

The city cannot afford the money needed for the project.
GIRARD -- Mayor James Melfi and an engineering consultant say temporary draining and breaching of the deteriorating 1917-vintage Lower Girard Lake dam seems to be the most affordable choice that best preserves the city's options for future restoration of the lake.
"We want to maintain all our options for the future, but we have to protect the financial integrity of the city today," the mayor said after a city park and recreation committee meeting Wednesday.
Options: The engineer, Dennis P. Meek of Burgess and Niple of Painesville, said in the meeting that there are various possibilities, including lowering the lake level to take pressure off the dam and to increase the city-owned lake's storage capacity, or draining the lake prior to either temporary breaching (removal of part of the dam) or permanent breaching (removal of the whole dam).
The mayor said the city, which is in fiscal emergency, can't afford to contribute some $2.5 million toward a $10.5 million dam replacement project.
The next step is for city officials to meet with Army Corps of Engineers officials to discuss options. The final decision would be made by council.
The city has about $450,000 left from a state grant that could provide a 25 percent match to federal funds used to remedy the problem.