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Hinckley Lake to be drained for dam rehabilitation project starting this fall: See the plans and timeline

'The project requires that the lake remain drained until the dam rehabilitation is completed, which is expected by summer 2026.'

HINCKLEY, Ohio — Big changes are coming to Hinckley Lake as Cleveland Metroparks officials announced plans Thursday morning to rehabilitate its dam.

The project is expected to begin with the temporary draining of Hinckley Lake starting Sept. 18, which means summer activities will remain open this year -- including swimming in the Spillway.

“The project requires that the lake remain drained until the dam rehabilitation is completed, which is expected by summer 2026 based on current schedule and funding,” according to a press release from Cleveland Metroparks. “Hinckley Reservation will remain open throughout the project, but access to Hinckley Lake will be prohibited once the project commences.”

The project is expected to cost up to $9 million.

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Credit: Cleveland Metroparks
Hinckley Lake.

“Over the next several years, the rehabilitation project will improve recreational opportunities at Hinckley Lake, raise the height of the existing earthen dam embankment that stretches across the northern portion of the lake and rehabilitate the 150-foot-wide concrete spillway to meet modern standards and provide improved protection in the event of severe flooding,” officials noted.

The dam was originally completed in 1927, creating the 87-acre manmade Hinckley Lake, which provides recreation and flood protection for the surrounding community.

Editor's note: Video of Hinckley Lake in the player above was originally published in a previous story on June 13, 2021.

“Over the last century, the Rocky River has deposited a significant amount of silt in Hinckley Lake, which varies in depths from 2-16 feet,” Cleveland Metroparks officials explained. “Concurrently with the dam rehabilitation, Cleveland Metroparks will remove excess silt deposits in specific areas of the lake to allow for proper depths for recreation. The removal of the silt follows the recently completed Johnson’s Creek Restoration project, a headwater tributary to the East Branch of the Rocky River in Hinckley Reservation that flows into Hinckley Lake. The project, funded in part from the Ohio EPA, restored the stream channel and streambanks and removed barriers that formerly impeded the passage of fish and macroinvertebrates.”

Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in an unrelated Hinckley story on March 15, 2023.

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