VERMILION, Ohio– The mayor of Vermilion says unusually high water this summer is to blame for more than $1 million in damage on the city’s Erie County side.
Mayor Jim Frothofer said he identified $1.6 million worth of damage because of exceptionally high water. They have reported the damage to Erie County, which will then make an application with the state in hopes to receive funding.
“The problems come when the cycle hits its peak,” Forthofer said. “The last time the water was this high was in 1986.”
The mayor said the current water level is beyond what people experienced then. Many larger boats docked along the Vermilion River have not moved this summer due to lack of clearance to pass under a bridge to get to the lake.
“If you have a boat that clears anything more than 8 and a half feet you can’t get from under the bridge.”
Kim Sullivan, a manager at the Vermilion Boat Club, called the amount of water in the parking lot Tuesday the lowest she’s witnessed since June. She echoed the mayor about the how some boaters are trying to clear their boats from the nearby bridge.
“To get under the bridge to get to the lake they’ll just pile 30 to 40 people in their boat just to weight it down to get under so they can get to the lake and go have fun,” Sullivan said.
Damage claimed extends to land as well. A portion of Sherod Park just beyond the outfield fence eroded. The mayor said the baseball field may have to be rebuilt as a result. He also identified flooding concerns along the residential Riverside Drive. Although it’s the middle of summer, he expressed concern about how high water could impact icebreakers this winter along the river.
“That icebreaker that we hire usually goes up and down the river, including under that bridge. Well, now with that bridge having an 8 and a half foot clearance, I don’t know of any icebreakers that are low enough to fit under an 8 and a half foot bridge,” he said.
The mayor met with the Erie County Emergency Management Association and Army Core of Engineers Tuesday afternoon.
“This has been a heck of a season for lakefront communities,” said the mayor. “As much as we love the lake and activities we have, we do have to worry about this.”