Men’s rally attendees learn Mosquito history

CHAMPION — Members of District IV Christian churches came together this fall as part of a twice-per-year men’s rally to work together for programs that benefit area residents.

The Rev. Ken Hopkins, pastor of Champion Christian Church, which hosted the recent men’s rally, said there are about 20 Christian churches Disciples of Christ in Mahoning and Trumbull counties who work together.

“The men of the churches come together once in the fall and once in the spring. The rallies help us build relationships across congregational lines to support one another,” he said.

The next men’s rally will be May 5. A benefit concert was held at Warren Central Christian Church.

At a recent program attended by more than 80 men, William Spring with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spoke on the history and construction of the Mosquito Lake Dam and its impact on the local area.

Spring, resource manager with the Army Corps of Engineers for the past 10 years, said he had previously served five years in Sacramento, California, and then in the Huntington District in Ohio.

“People have referred to Mosquito Lake as the little pond,” he said, noting the dam at the lake was built in 90 days in 1943 and 1944.

Spring said in the late 1960s, the Corps became a leading environmental protection group focusing on flood control.

The Army had established the Corps of Engineers as a permanent branch in 1802 with George Washington as the first chief of engineers.

“There was a need for public works and public safety through water resources and water infrastructure,” Spring said.

The Mosquito Creek is part of the Pittsburgh district, which has 16 flood control reservoirs. Spring said Mosquito Lake is smaller than most, covering 7,600 acres of land and is 9.6 miles long from the causeway to the dam, which is 47 feet tall and 435 feet wide.

“It is considered the best for fishing,” he said.

Spring said the lake’s purpose is for flood control, recreation and water supply to the Warren area of 10 to 16 million gallons of water.

The wildlife area and state park near the lake provide recreational and outdoor opportunities.

Spring said the lake was a federal project, with Congress in July 1943 appropriating $4.3 million to build Mosquito Lake Reservoir with groundbreaking on July 24, 1943.

“It is the 75th anniversary since the dam was built,” he said.

He said the dam was originally built to last 50 years.

Spring said in 2013 there was some modification work done to the dam’s gates.

“This was a very unique project. It had a waterway that spills into another waterway in a different watershed,” Spring said.

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