Bainbridge trustees on Monday heard details of a project to repair the eroding banks along Lake Paterek and restore some of Smith Creek at Centerville Mills Park.

Senior Associate Consultant Christina Znidarsic from the Davey Resource Group told trustees that she has deep ties to the area. “I grew up in Geauga County and being able to work and play in this area is very important to me. My bona fides to ecological preservation also go deep.” 

Ms. Znidarsic, who is the design team leader for Northeast Ohio Ecological Consulting, has worked for the Chagrin River Watershed Partners for eight years.

The in-stream habitat of Smith Creek is not in good shape, Ms. Znidarsic said. The lake currently occupies 7 acres, she said, and the project will reclaim 3 acres for wetland restoration, leaving the lake the remaining 4 acres.

The budget for the project is $430,000 with $400,000 paid for through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.  

“This project is really not an elective,” Trustee Jeffrey S. Markley said. “We don’t really have a choice and fortunately there was an opportunity to do something. It was going to go out on its own and we’d have no water source. So it’s good we have a preferred option.” 

The estimated timeframe of the project is four years, from the award of contract in August to the anticipated conclusion of the project in spring 2025. 

A kickoff meeting, site assessments and design iterations are projected to occur between now and March 2022, officials said.

Lake Paterek will be drained of water this fall and remain that way through the completion of the project. Significant portions of the lake will be banned from public access. 

“It’s going to look bad,” Ms. Znidarsic said, “but it’s going to look fabulous when it’s done.”

Project documents state that restoration techniques proposed for the project include reconnecting the stream to its floodplain and allowing the stream to dissipate energy during high flows to minimize future erosion.

In addition to the necessity of the project, trustees expressed their excitement for it to begin.

“This is going to go in a way that I think everyone’s going to be happy with,” Mrs. Sass Benza said. 

Fiscal Officer Janice Sugarman said she was impressed with the presentation given by Ms. Znidarsic. 

“In my seven years, this is probably the best and most interesting presentation I’ve heard,” Mrs. Sugarman said.

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