By Shane Hoover

CANTON – The Meyers Lake Sportsman’s Club”s ongoing dispute with the private lake’s owners is now in court.

Controversy arose over the winter between the Meyers Lake Preserve and The Fish Dock Inc., an offshoot of the club that managed the lake and ran a dock and fishing pier. Part of the dispute involved the preserve’s wanting club members to pay a fee to use the lake.

In April, the preserve terminated negotiations on a new agreement and told the club to remove the docks and fishing piers on preserve property.

The preserve repeated that request in a letter Monday and threatened to remove those structures if the club didn’t.

The club fired back with a lawsuit in Stark County Common Pleas Court asking a judge to declare:

* The club has the right to use the lake for swimming, boating, fishing and the maintenance of docks, fishing piers and a boat ramp, without paying fees.

* The docks and boat ramp are on club property and the preserve has no right to order their removal.

The lawsuit also seeks monetary damages in excess of $25,000 and attorney fees.

The club’s attorney, Allen Schulman, said the preserve has no right to tell his clients what to do with their property or keep them from using the lake.

The club has used the lake since the 1950s and purchased 1.6 acres from the lake’s previous owner for $1 in 1980, according to the lawsuit. The deed requires the land to be used for club purposes.

But preserve president John Wirtz said that the club’s deed doesn’t give it lake rights, and that the club’s presence on the lake was based on the management agreement.

Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. has set a hearing for Thursday on the club’s request for a temporary restraining order.

Meyers lake sportsman’s club files suit