WESTERVILLE — For some in the lower eastern part of Delaware County, Hoover Reservoir Park is a good place to improve one’s health. Now the dam at the reservoir is also getting improvements to improve its health.
Work is to begin this month on a $15 million capital improvement project.
“This project will make improvements to the dam to maintain a reliable water supply and extend the life of this critical asset,” said the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities. “Work will include replacing dam equipment (gates, valves, piping, etc.) and other systems (electrical, dehumidify, etc.). Many of these elements are original to the dam, built in the 1950s, and are in need of replacement or repair due to age.”
Although it is mainly in Delaware County, the park area is maintained by Columbus Recreation and Parks. However, Delaware County residents enjoy activities such as fishing, boating, sailing, birdwatching, hiking, biking, picnicking and disc golf.
Those who like to walk or run frequently go up and down the stairs on either end of the dam, often using the spillway bridge to go from one side to the other. The bridge is also a popular vantage point to watch water gush out from the spillway’s floodgates into the Big Walnut Creek.
During construction, a number of areas will be closed off to the public, with signage posted. Among those areas, the city said, are: “The road and western portion of pedestrian bridge on the crest of the dam; the southern half of the parking lot on the west side of the dam (off Sunbury Road); the parking lot on the southwest side of the dam (adjacent to the soccer fields); the road from the west parking lots to the parking lot on the southwest side of the dam; the stairs on the west end of the dam.”
Closed on a specified basis will be: the parking lot nearest the marina (winter 2021/2022); east access road from Central College Road (fall 2020 and winter 2020/2021); the stairs on the east end of the dam (summer 2020 through spring 2021). Last but not least, the dam spillway bridge will be closed intermittently.
Along with its recreational amenities, the 4,700-acre Hoover Reservoir also provides drinking water to Columbus.
“The dam, which is one of several in the city’s water supply system, is located on the Big Walnut Creek at the south end of the reservoir,” said the City of Columbus. “It supplies water to the Hap Cremean Water Plant, which in turn, provides drinking water to approximately 600,000 customers.”
At the north end of the reservoir is the village of Galena, with Genoa Township and Westerville on the west side and Harlem Township to the east.
Kokosing Industrial Inc. is the contractor for the $15 million project, which the city said “is being financed through low-interest loans paid back through Division of Water ratepayer revenue.” Work is expected to be complete in winter 2022. Project updates can be found on the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In addition, Columbus Parks Recreation and Parks said on July 16, “The boardwalk at Hoover Reservoir near Galena is closed for repairs until further notice.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.