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Geneva-On-The-Lake Offering Assistance To Residents Facing Erosion

Homeowners in Geneva-on-the-Lake could get funding to help repair and protect the shoreline from erosion. But in order to qualify, some of the land would need to allow public access to the lakefront.

Geneva-on-the-Lake lost more than a hundred feet of its shoreline to erosion last spring. The village has done a lot of work to protect the area, particularly around Township Park, said Village Administrator Jeremy Shaffer. That includes a revetment to protect village infrastructure near the shore.

“Our problems are not unique to Geneva-on-the-Lake. Everyone has seen it as the water has risen on Lake Erie over the last couple years,” Shaffer said. “I think we still have a ways to go until the water decreases to a level that we could probably find comfortable when it comes to shoreline protection.”

The work along the park shoreline was done using funds from a levy passed by residents last year. But that funding doesn’t cover private property, and homeowners in the area are facing erosion on their land. The village is currently looking into solutions for that, Shaffer said.

“Over the last year and going forward, since Township Park is protected, we’re still addressing a long-term plan along the shoreline,” Shaffer said.

Local officials met with residents Wednesday at a hybrid in-person and virtual meeting to discuss one option. The village is planning to use a public-private partnership to help landowners get the help they need and prevent more erosion, Shaffer said.

“We’re taking this long-term approach, not just cookie cutter style but something we can tailor as a partnership with funding for each individual homeowner, and be specific to what shoreline protection they need,” Shaffer said.

The funding for the partnership would come from state grants, Shaffer said. Because of that, property owners need to agree to allow public access to the lakefront on some of their land.

“We had to get property owners and stakeholders that wanted to be part of this, wanted to have their shoreline repaired in a way that may have a public piece to it to allow us to apply for this funding,” Shaffer said.

To get involved in the partnership, the village and homeowner would need a memorandum of understanding about public access, Shaffer said. An engineer would then come up with a plan for how to address the needs of the property, he said, as well as determine the cost. From there, the plan could be submitted for possible state funding.

About 70 people attended the meeting in total, Shaffer said, and there was interest in taking part.

“What’s important to the village is that we do this in the sensible approach for everyone, knowing that the shoreline itself varies in what individual needs are,” Shaffer said. “We think we can put some puzzle pieces together to benefit public access and benefit the protection of property.”

Erosion in the area last year was attributed in large part to high water levels on Lake Erie. The lake is lower now than it was at that time, according to a press release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but still exceeds the long-term average.

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