Winter Update: Projects and Plans in Process

Winter, like the growth and change that the Buckeye Lake Region is experiencing, requires planning and preparation. There can be a bright side to growth and development as well, but only with planning and preparation. BLRC continues every day to prepare the Buckeye Lake Region for impending change.

At the BLRC our goal is, and always has been, to assist communities in guiding growth towards sustainable, positive impact on the Region, based on the input of the Community.

The BLRC is actively pursuing issues that have a regional impact. In this issue of Lake Effect we present to you a compendium of BLRC projects, achievements and goals.

Responsible Development

  • Hired DPZ of Miami to create graphic visions of the region. (DPZ is widely considered to be among the Top 10 architectural, design and planning firms in the World) The DPZ work is posted on BLRC2036.org.
  • When ODNR threatened the removal of encroaching structures (porches, portions of homes) BLRC retained a lawyer in cooperation with the Buckeye Lake Region Chamber of Commerce and negotiated a dam encroachment settlement.
  • Facilitated acquisition of the Thorn Twp DMRA site by conducting direct meetings with the Speaker of the House after the State of Ohio declined to purchase the land. This site makes possible the dredging of the eastern third of the lake.
  • Hosted a no-cost, public “Opportunity Zone” seminar with a panel of experts to explain the benefits of an Opportunity Zone and to encourage investment in (primarily) Buckeye Lake Village.
  • Provided visionary design work to Thorn and Walnut Twp for properties proposed for development. While each township paid the BLRC $1000, it cost the BLRC over $20,000 to conduct community outreach and provide this service.

Research & Studies

  • Production and publication of the Hospitality Study and Retail Market Analysis. Also, the “Economic Impact Report” to educate (primarily elected officials) on the economic importance of the Buckeye Lake Region.
  • Publication and distribution of the Buckeye Lake Watershed Study produced by Watershed Coordinator Sebastian Teas. The study is key to the pursuit of watershed improvement grants.

Local Government Collaboration

  • Hosted community “Meet and Greet” events at the BLYC with Mike DeWine, Richard Cordray and Matt Dolan, free to the public. BLRC assumed production and costs of the events.
  • Met with elected and appointed officials and initiated citizen petitions in support of the new dredge. Additional direct meetings with the Speaker of the House were part of this successful effort.

Fundraising and Grants

  • Successful application for reappropriation and Capital grant dollars to fund the Thorn TWP canoe and kayak park.
  • Successfully applied for $400,000 in capital funds to be used towards restoration of the Feeder Channel.
  • Capital Grant requests resulting in $425,000 to initiate restoration improvements to the Millersport Canal.
  • $25,000 cash and extensive in-kind donations to the “Queen of the Lake III” restoration project.
  • Initiation of the FEMA grant application to alleviate flooding on I-70 and the South Fork Licking River. The project has been handed off to Licking County and ODOT.
  • BLRC assumed all production and fundraising duties for the “BLASST” Independence Day Celebration.
  • North Shore Park & Pier. Successfully applied for $550,000 in Capital funds for community outreach, design and engineering. Design work is posted at org/community-pier
  • Crystal Lake: Grant applications totaling approximately $125,000. Currently working on site and design options.

Community Involvement and Water Quality

  • Region-wide BLRC focus groups to determine community-supported projects of $150k or less. Water quality was identified as the top priority, resulting in a funding partnership with Buckeye Lake for Tomorrow.
  • Water Quality Partnership Impact to date: $80,000, with $40,000 coming directly from the BLRC in a “1-1” match against donations raised for water quality initiatives.
  • BLRC NORTH BANK MEETING FACILITY: Available for Community Organizations to conduct meetings, etc.
  • “BUCKEYE LAKE REGION COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT CORPORATION” Created by the BLRC, this entity is able to hold properties and manage development. The first property expected to be managed by this CIC will be a public shoreline park that stretches over 2400’ along the easternmost edge of the lake. This park will transform public lake access in an area where nearly none exists. The CIC will also work to rehabilitate derelict and delinquent properties.
  • REGIONAL AND COMMUNITY BRANDING A brand was created to identify the Buckeye Lake Region, and branding for Fairfield Beach and Walnut Twp have just been completed, with signage planned for 2024. Both were guided by input from a diverse community cross-section. Only through public input do such projects have validity.
  • VILLAGE AND TOWNSHIP RELATIONSHIPS. Since 2017 BLRC has worked to great effect establishing open communication between the commissioners of Perry, Licking and Fairfield counties. In 2024 a concerted effort will be made to create and maintain the same open communication across the political boundaries of the townships and villages so that they may draw upon one another’s strengths for the overall benefit of the Buckeye Lake Region.

These are a few of the projects and activities of the Buckeye Lake Region Corporation. If you have questions or comments, contact Mike @ mfornataro@blrc2036.org or 740-964-4520. Evident in this summary is that BLRC is a planning organization, not a development company. BLRC does not “Plant a flag in the ground”. We work to secure resources and establish connections so that others in the Region may be successful

BLRC BOARD MEMBERS: The BLRC Board consists of your neighbors from all corners of the Buckeye Lake Region. Curious who is on the board? Check out the full roster at www.blrc2036.org/who-we-are.html

CHAMPIONS OF THE LAKE: The highest level of business donors. Please support those that support your community!

OUR DONORS:  While grants may pay for projects, day-to-day expenses are supported by the generous donations of individuals and businesses. To see who is funding this important initiative, to donate, or to learn more about what BLRC is doing, please visit www.BLRC2036.org.