Residents atop failing dam fret about plan to replace it

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BUCKEYE LAKE, Ohio (AP) — The earthen dam at central Ohio's Buckeye Lake is deteriorating, which perhaps isn't surprising for a 180-year-old structure. More stunning is the unusual arrangement that officials say considerably weakened the 4.1-mile embankment, putting it at risk of failing and flooding the surrounding community.

Since the state sold parts of it for private use in 1895, bits and chunks have been carved away. People dug foundations for cottages and homes, ran utilities and appropriated remaining state land next to their docks, sprucing up the waterside with flagpoles, flower beds and patios.

When a report this month warned the dam could fail, the state decided to replace it and keep the water level low for now. Now, businesses and residents worry about the effect on tourism, property values and local lifestyles.