Michelle Newman Brady | Guest Columnist | Newark Advocate

A boardwalk with games, restaurants, scenic views, and a lake filled with boaters, water-skiers, and swimmers. Summer homes fill each weekend and a buzz runs throughout the community about everything going on at “the Lake.”

This description once reflected life at Buckeye Lake, and if trends continue – it will again soon. Buckeye Lake is enjoying a renaissance, and if you don’t look soon, you will miss witnessing its rebirth. The buzz around the lake continues to grow.

Buckeye Lake 2030 is continuing its road show through 2018 – presenting ideas to residents and potential investors about the possibilities at the lake while gathering community feedback and advocating for current and future Buckeye Lake residents. The region faces a unique tourism challenge, as the lake is surrounded by three counties and five townships. Explore Licking County, the Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the surrounding Chambers of Commerce have always supported the lake, but newcomer Explore Buckeye Lake (in partnership with the Buckeye Lake Shopper Reporter) has launched a tourism website in hopes of providing an entry point for city dwellers looking for road trips from the Columbus area.

It was reported in March that $1.3 million in state funds have been appropriated to the Buckeye Lake region for improvements in the 2019-2020 budget. Funds will go to Licking, Fairfield, and Perry Counties for projects like channel restoration, the building of a public pier, park development and additional public access points to the lake. These projects combined will work to improve water quality at Buckeye Lake and to both support local businesses while drawing in new visitors and economic advancement opportunities.

While Buckeye Lake was hit hard by the impact of its woes in the past years, bluer skies are appearing. New businesses like Buckeye Cantina, a family friendly sports bar featuring Mexican cuisine and drinks, and Turning Tails Pet Company, offering grooming, doggie daycare and boarding, are opening around the lake while long-standing businesses are expanding and seeing renewed energy with a new generation of business owners and a renewed focus online and in print. Rival Motorsports has expanded its square footage in a contemporary, sleek marketplace while Buckeye Lake Brewery has added on the Chef Shack and is exploring further development. Visitors continue to head towards the lake for its entertainment options close by, too – everything from National Trails Raceway, Dawes Arboretum, and Legend Valley.

If you haven’t made a trip to Buckeye Lake recently, do yourself a favor and take a day trip out to see the sites. Visit the Buckeye Lake Historical Society to learn about the Lake of the past while helping support the restoration of Queen of the Lake – scheduled to be on the lake again sooner than later. Book a campsite at the KOA, grab lunch at Pizza Cottage and head out to the Port Smokehouse at night for dining and music under the stars. Between retailers, restaurants, and water sports – a family can fill a day with fun activities and have plenty of reason to return. Buckeye Lake is back – and in our backyard! Visit and enjoy today to dream about the tomorrow.

Michelle Newman Brady, creative COOP, MNB.Marketing