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Disaster Declaration For Buckeye Lake Area Opens Door For Federal Aid

An aerial view of Buckeye Lake

Federal officials have declared an economic injury disaster designation for three counties near Buckeye lake as crews work to repair an ailing earthen dam.

The U.S. Small Business Administration made the declaration for Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties on Thursday.

Gov. John Kasich had applied for the declaration, saying businesses have suffered financially as the lake has been kept low while plans are made to replace a deteriorated dam. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the dam is at risk of failing.

The declaration makes low-interest loans up to $2 million available to any business adversely affected by the state's decision to lower the water level in Buckeye Lake that can meet requirements.

More than a dozen businesses, including marinas and restaurants, told state officials they've lost significant revenue because of the lower water level.