WESTERVILLE — Visitors to Hoover Reservoir will notice repairs continuing at the dam, but most of the area’s Delaware County amenities can still be accessed.
Despite its location, the City of Columbus maintains Hoover Reservoir Park, 7701 Sunbury Road, Westerville.
“The Hoover Reservoir Park (area) offers over 4,700 acres of peaceful and serene landscape just north of Columbus,” said the Recreation and Parks Department for Columbus. “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.”
There are a number of nearby features, including a bird sanctuary, nature preserve, two recreation areas, wetlands, a causeway, marina and boat launches in Genoa Township, sailing and boat clubs in Harlem Township, and a 27-hole disc golf course near Cubbage Road.
In terms of construction, the city’s Department of Public Utilities is in phase one of a $15 million capital improvement project involving the dam.
“This project will make improvements to the dam to maintain a reliable water supply and extend the life of this critical asset,” the City of Columbus said on its website. “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.”
The city said work began in August 2020 and is expected to be finished in spring 2022. That will be a relief to the weekend warriors who like to climb those spillway stairs.
For those who like to visit the dam and see the lake flow into the Big Walnut Creek, the dam spillway bridge and its walkway are often closed during construction, with a chain-link fence up. The west parking lot will be open, and the east parking lot will be closed intermittently. The multi-use pathway has been rerouted to along Sunbury Road.
In another area of Hoover, the Mudflats Boardwalk in Galena remains closed for repairs until further notice, the City of Columbus said. The boardwalk was a popular birdwatching and fishing spot. “The Big Walnut Creek drains into Hoover Reservoir well north of the City of Westerville,” notes the Westerville website.
According to the Ohio Department of Resources, Hoover consists of 2,884 acres of water and 45 miles of shoreline. Water depth ranges from 10 feet in Galena, to 50 feet at the county line and 60 feet near the dam. It holds 20.8 billion gallons of water to supply the city of Columbus, which maintains the dam. The water is treated at the Hap Cremean plant on Morse Road, which provides drinking water to 600,000 people.
Wikipedia said Hoover has a surface area of 3,272 acres or five square miles. While most of that acreage is in Delaware County, the dam itself is below County Line/Smothers Road in Franklin County. Signs on Central College Road in Blendon Township notes there may be more bicycle traffic than normal near the dam.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.