Schoonover Lake, Simmons Field projects near completion

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — Two large City of Lima infrastructure projects — the Schoonover Dam reconstruction project and Simmons Field’s underground water tank — are nearing completion as construction crews complete their final touches.

Those driving by Schoonover Lake on a regular basis may have noticed that the lake has been mostly empty since June 2019, when contractors employed with the City of Lima began a series of infrastructure improvements prompted by the need to re-fortify the lake’s dam.

After running into some soil compression troubles associated with the dam, the $1.8 million project is now nearing its completion.

“The dam has been reconstructed. The pump track has been installed. The parking and drives have been improved. The decorative island has been renovated and features a boulder,” Public Works Director Howard Elstro said.

The remaining tasks include re-seeding the island and waiting for the project’s final piece, an ADA-compliant floating dock which is currently in transit, Elstro said.

Once the dock is installed, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will begin to refill the lake. Elstro said the city will need to file some final certifications with ODNR once the dock arrives, and the state agency will take the steps to restore the lake and stock it with fish.

On the other side of town, the Simmons Field underground water tank’s moving parts are being run through their paces before contractors sign off on the project.

“They’re getting ready to spread grass seed,” Utilities Director Mike Caprella said. “(The tank) is covered with eight to 10 feet of topsoil. By the end of next month, it will be a green field.”

Once finished, the field will essentially hide a 13-million gallon tank that cost just under $40 million to build over the last two and a half years. The only noticeable changes for those outside the tank will be two brick pump houses used to control some of the complicated internal mechanisms located inside the tank.

Constructed to reduce the number of overflow flooding events escaping into the Ottawa River, Caprella said the project went smoother than any he’s ever dealt with despite it being the largest infrastructure project ever taken by the City of Lima.

“It’s under budget and well ahead of time. That says a lot for the contractor we’ve had, Peterson Construction,” Caprella said. “They do pretty good work. As a result we got a pretty good project out there done ahead of schedule.”

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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