PARMA, Ohio - Evergreen Lake in Parma used to be one of the most picturesque lakes in the city. But in recent years, residents report the seven acre lake has turned into an algae filled nuisance, with very few signs of life.
Evergreen Lake is mostly owned by the 21 homeowners who live around it. Dozens of other residents, like Tom and Kay Bland who live near the lake, said they are tired seeing and smelling the mess.
"It's kinda like a cesspool when you look at it," said Kay. "It's the Fourth of July, people used to have picnics and parties here, today you see nothing."
The Blands report there was a massive fish kill at Lake Evergreen three years ago.
"All the fish floated to the top and they all died," said Tom. "The lake is just dead. All that grows here is just algae."
The Blands and other neighbors contacted Parma City Hall, and the Ohio EPA, hoping to spark some solutions.
"The EPA told us that this has occurred because of over-fertilization in the area by all the residents, and it water sheds down through all the properties," said Tom.
The Blands believe Parma City Hall should work with property owners around the lake to find a solution. The Bland would also like the city to demand the property owners form an official association and collect money to have the lake dredged.
However, Evergreen Lake property owners like Sandra Popovich believe they are taking the right steps. Popovich told NewsChannel5 Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis the group of property owners have already had a meeting to find ways to clean-up the lake.
"We just got together recently to get something done, because the state of the lake is tragic," said Popovich.
Each lakefront owner will contribute nearly $400 for the installation of an aerator to help reduce the algae growth.
But the Bland's, and other residents, don't believe an aerator will be nearly enough to get the job done.
NewsChannel5 contacted Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter's office in the search for solutions to the problem. Mayor DeGeeter issued the following statement:
"The City has been in contact with some of the residents who live near Evergreen Lake and is aware of their concerns. In fact, after hearing their concerns, city officials visited the property to assess the situation and subsequently contacted the Cuyahoga County Soil and Water Conservation District on their behalf for an opinion about the lake and how best to proceed."
"The City will forward any recommendations to residents. The City will continue to assist in an attempt to help improve the quality of life for those who live nearby. It is important to remember, though, that the lake is privately owned."
NewsChannel5 also contacted Parma Councilwoman Mary Buchholz-Galinas, hoping to promote results.
5 On Your Side will continue to follow-up on this developing story, look for updates on NewsChannel5 and on newsnet5.com.
Meanwhile, residents like the Tom Bland, who live near the lake, made it clear a solution can't come soon enough.
"I just don't understand. When people are responsible for doing something like this, and they're responsible for owning this, they should be made responsible for fixing it."
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