Background on the NEORSD Recommendations

Horseshoe Lake was constructed 170 years ago when the North Union Shakers dammed Doan Brook to power a woolen mill. The woolen mill was demolished in 1895 and for more than 120 years, residents enjoyed Horseshoe Lake.

In spring 2019, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) determined that the existing Horseshoe Lake Dam was structurally deficient. As a Class 1 dam, its sudden failure could cause significant property damage and potential loss of life downstream. For this reason, ODNR directed the City to almost fully drain Horseshoe Lake and keep it drained.

NEORSD presented its recommendations for Horseshoe Lake and Lower Lake in June 2021. From June to September 2021, City officials and City Council considered the recommendations and held five public meetings to allow the public to learn more and provide feedback. Last September, Shaker Heights City Council voted to concur with the NEORSD recommendations for the Shaker Lakes and move forward with the project.

The recommendations for Horseshoe Lake are to remove the dam and return that area to its original, natural condition, which includes restored Doan Brook stream beds. By removing the dam, a human-made impediment, the North and Middle branches of the Doan Brook will flow as they did for more than 14,000 years, before the arrival of European settlers.

NEORSD also proposed to rebuild the dam at Lower Lake. The new dam would meet the Ohio Department of Natural Resources regulations for a Class 1 dam. NEORSD would fund these recommendations — estimated to cost almost $30 million — through its Regional Stormwater Management Program.


Watch this 12-minute video NEORSD created to describe its recommendations for Horseshoe Lake and Lower Lake. 

If you want a more extensive overview of the recommendations, then watch the video of NEORSD's June 15 community meeting.

Be sure to visit to sign up to receive emails about the Doan Brook Restoration Project, which is now in the pre-design phase. You can also find additional background information on that page. 

Review Frequently Asked Questions PDF (Updated 11/30/22), which are FAQs created during the period the City was reviewing the recommendations from NEORSD, many based on questions submitted by residents. A more up-to-date FAQ can be found at the NEORSD website.