CLEVELAND — Horseshoe Lake was drained in 2019 because of concerns that the dam holding it together would fail and cause “catastrophic damage.”  

What You Need To Know

  • In 2019, Horseshoe Lake was drained according to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

  • The district said the lake was drained because of failing infrastructure 

  • Residents near the lake have placed signs in their yard hoping to save Horseshoe Lake
  • Mike Madorsk is a Shaker resident and says that the lake holds these two communities together and without it is a huge loss

Horseshoe Lake bisects two communities: Shaker Heights on one side and Cleveland Heights on the other. Mike Madorsky has lived most of his life in shaker heights and said the lake was drained years ago, which stirred up some controversy.

“We want our lake back," he said. “This lake was here for 170 years, and this lake was formed by the Shakers to power their grist mills, which were all down further downstream.”

According to the Northern Ohio Regional Sewer District, the lake was drained because the dam that holds horseshoe lake together is falling apart.

“The dam is fairly well compromised because of its age and deterioration, but it thus embankment creates Horseshoe Lake, which has been drained and was required to be drained by Ohio Department of Natural Resources because of the issues with the with the dam,” said Matt Scharver with the sewer district. 

Madorsky said the dam held this lake together as well as the community. 

“The city of Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights were both built around this lake,” Madorsky said. “These lakes were integral to the planning of Shaker Heights, and to not have a lake here is a real loss for the whole community.”

The sewer district has begun moving forward with planning the future for Horseshoe Lake.

“We embarked on a redesign process, and we're just initiating our overall public engagement process to bring in stakeholder involvement and get the public's feedback and understanding of what this transformation of the lake, the removal of the dam means for Doan Brook in terms of its restoration, and then the overall reset of the riparian corridor that is situated within this park space,” Scharver said. 

The district believes that if action is not taken soon enough, that damage could occur. 

“We have a failing piece of infrastructure, a water resource that's in a failed state that needs to be addressed so that we don't have any type of catastrophic failure that could cause excessive property damage or an unfortunate loss of life,” Scharver said. 

Madorsky said he will continue to fight to keep the lake and return it to the way it used to be.

“We’re going to fight to keep this lake for the generations to come,” he said. 

The sewer district held a community forum on Aug. 27 and are planning to continue to meet with community members throughout the rest of the year. 

For more information on the public forums, click here.