A lobbyist hired to secure funds and create partnerships to heal Grand Lake St. Marys says he would like to see Grand Lake St. Marys serve as the home of a water resource management institute.

Earlier this year, the Lake Improvement Association appropriated funds to hire Bob Doyle to serve as a lobbyist on behalf of the group and its quest to help restore Grand Lake St. Marys. Doyle, a former state legislator who served in the 1990s, previously worked to secure funds to help clean up the Miamisburg Mound.

“I am very familiar with Celina and Grand Lake St. Marys and when I read in the paper about what was occurring, I reached out to (Mercer County Economic Development Director) Jared Ebbing,” Doyle told The Evening Leader, noting he previously worked at Celina Insurance Group. “Over a period of four to five months, we kept in touch. I thought I could help and we met in January and February with Tom Knapke and Tim Lovett and they brought me on board to help work with them to look for dollars to clean up the lake.”

Doyle touted a potential relationship between the Lake Campus, lake preservation groups and private enterprises as a collaboration that could help restore and maintain the lake for years to come. Yellow Springs Instruments, Doyle said, is known for its water monitoring equipment and could provide a vital partnership in the fight for the lake.

“I envision, in the long run, to make some kind of water resource management institution on the campus of Wright State University,” Doyle said.

“I am working with Yellow Springs Instruments (YSI) — they are a world leader in monitoring equipment.  They manufacture and develop equipment that monitors lakes, streams and floods. Whenever the Ohio River is rising, their equipment tells what it’s doing and monitors the water. We would have known something would have occurred a few years ago (in the lake) if they were part of the team.”

The institute, Doyle said, would bring Ohio companies together to help the lake. It also could provide company officials with an opportunity to display the capabilities of their equipment.

“We would bring Ohio companies together to grow their business and market their capabilities to other states or worldwide,” Doyle said.

“YSI is in China and India with their equipment. I can see something coming out of this.”

Doyle also touted close relationships with Ohio legislators serving in Congress.

Doyle shared temporary housing with Speaker of the House John Boehner while Boehner served in the Ohio legislature.

“We know there are no earmarks,” Doyle said, noting Boehner has never asked for earmarks during his time in Congress. “What we can do is try to find those funds that are already appropriated to use for this and look for some funding to start up the institute — maybe some private funds or investors. Yellow Springs is willing to put in monitoring equipment free of charge as long as someone can monitor the equipment. We’ve got some good things coming and I just hope that we can do something that can keep the algae from coming back.”

Doyle praised the work of the local lake groups in bringing the plight of Grand Lake St. Marys to the forefront.

“They couldn’t have a finer bunch working for them,” Doyle said. “These guys, I’ve never seen a group care as much to make things right. They are really a strong voice in the community.”


By Mike Burkholder, The Evening Leader