GALENA — There will be another open house regarding the Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk this month.
Residents will recall there was an initial community open house the evening of July 25 in the Galena Village Hall. The next one is 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Westerville Public Library, 126 S. State St., Westerville.
Those in attendance will be able to provide their input on the design and amenities of an updated boardwalk, which is currently closed for repairs. At the summer open house, there was talk of widening the 6-foot boardwalk, while the public was looking forward to using a reopened boardwalk for fishing and birdwatching.
While the boardwalk is in Galena, and it has a Westerville address of 7701 Sunbury Road, the structure is the responsibility of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department (CRPD).
“The Hoover Reservoir Park (area) offers over 4,700 acres of peaceful and serene landscape just North of Columbus,” said www.columbus.gov. “The park and lake provide guests with a range of recreational activities from picnicking, hiking, boating and fishing. For the bird watching enthusiasts, the park offers a wide variety of bird types ranging from common to rare. This includes frequent sightings of the American Bald Eagle throughout the year. The reservoir is an important feature for tourism, but also for the water it provides to the city of Columbus.”
The web page for Hoover Reservoir Park was updated in March 2022.
“The 1,500-foot boardwalk at Hoover Reservoir near Galena has been inspected by professional engineers, and it was determined that the boardwalk is not safe for individuals to use,” said the update. “Because it’s not safe to use, the boardwalk will be closed until it has been redesigned and rebuilt. Next steps include conducting an environmental assessment of the area and doing public outreach with the community to learn what residents would like to see with the redesign of this boardwalk. Investing in this new boardwalk will create a more sustainable and accessible amenity for the local community. The new boardwalk will most likely be completed and open to the public in 2024.”
However, CRPD’s more current capital improvement page said construction would begin next summer and reopen in fall 2025.
The department’s page gives a timeline history of the boardwalk. As many locals know, Hoover Dam was built in 1955. It contains a 3,272-acre reservoir, and 925 acres surrounding it are a nature preserve. In 2005, the timber boardwalk was built. A decade later, ice damage required an assessment.
The boardwalk may be part of one of the city’s northernmost parks, but it’s far from the only one.
“Did you know that you can explore 410 Columbus parks for free?” CRPD posted on Facebook this summer. “With 14,069 acres of parkland for residents and visitors, there’s a park close to you, no matter where you live … explore some new-to-you parks around the city. Grab your family or friends… See a map of where the parks are located and check out the full list of parks here: bit.ly/3Nf3Wfg.”
Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].