BERLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – Township Trustees around Berlin Lake are gearing up for a fight with the federal government. Some in the area say the government is stealing their lake and hurting the economy.
When the water level of the lake goes down, so does business in the surrounding area. The Army Corps of Engineers drained the lake this year at a rate of more than two inches a day. The process caught Bait Shack owner Martha Cobb off guard.
“This year if you look at my docks, they opened up and they took us down fast. I didn’t even have time to get our docks out,” Cobb said.
The boating season ended in two weeks. Cobb lost money in launch fees and her docks sustained $8,000 to $10,000 in damage.
Trustees from Berlin and Deerfield townships are now working together to get the Army Corps of Engineers to change their methods. Trustee Denny Furman said he understands the lake isn’t supposed to be recreational but that has changed.
“In all essence, it turned into being a recreational lake, and a business lake,” Furman said.
Trustee Marc Bann says business that would stay at Berlin gets driven to other lakes. When the water goes down, the campgrounds clear out.
“The businesses in this community, they are struggling. They can tell you exactly when that water goes down,” Bann said.
The business owners have sent a complaint to Washington, D.C., hoping to get at least a three-week extension on the summer pool before the lake is drained. Cobb says she hopes something is done to save her business and her home.
Trustees say they are in the fight to for the long haul and won’t rest until they get answers from the federal government.