Sep. 21—LIMA — More than 800 fish now have a new home at Schoonover Lake. St. Mary's Fish Hatchery filled the lake with catfish on Wednesday morning following the Mayor's conference.
After years of restoration, Schoonover Lake is ready for new life. Community members are welcome to walk the path and cast their lines.
Schoonover Lake was drained in 2019 following a survey completed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The survey determined the lake was showing signs of erosion and movement.
City Engineer Kirk Neimeyer weighed in on the project.
"We wanted to do this two years ago, but the pandemic got in the way," said Neimeyer. "Today we rededicated the lake, after the reconstruction of the dam in 2020. A lot of components to the project. We have an island restoration which is dedicated to the armed services. The island has plaques for various branches. We also have a fishing platform on the other end of the lake as well as the new parking lot. There is a new path. We wanted to thank everyone and the veterans who were instrumental in putting this on."
Veteran Bob Bennett honored Howard Elstro, Ric Stolly and Kirk Neimeyer for their help in honoring the veterans.
"I am really proud and happy it is all coming together," said Bennett. "We're ready for the fish to get in there and the people to come."
Over the years, the lake was refilled by a fire hydrant, city water, rainfall and stormwater runoff. The lake is officially full enough to add in its new inhabitants.
"Altogether, it was a $1.6 million project," said Neimeyer. "We have some more projects coming up this fall. We will have a clear lake just like we had before."
The City of Lima is wrapping up the highly anticipated restoration by addressing vegetation in the lake.
"When you come into Lima off of I-75, we want it to be a showpiece," added Neimeyer. "We plan to continue to do enhancements throughout the City parks. In addition to the vegetation removal, we are looking at the former Schoonover pool area. We have some conceptual things in the works right now. Things like playgrounds, additional splash pads, skate parks and pickleball. We have a grant for the Schoonover Observatory of $250,000. That will be going into design in the near future."