The Village of Roaming Shores — located in rural Ashtabula County, Ohio, only a one-hour drive from Cleveland, Erie or Youngstown — offers a restorative lifestyle with generous amenities.
The inception of Roaming Shores is traced back to the damming and impoundment of the Rock Creek in 1966, which created Lake Roaming Rock and the Rome Rock Association, Inc., (Association) as a property owner owned private lake residential community. Some 13 years later, in order to provide public operation of a bankrupt water and waste water utility for a growing population and to capture tax revenue, the Village of Roaming Shores (Village) was established in 1979.
The Village is a thriving private lakefront community where most of the residents are required by property deed to be members of the Association. While the local government and the Association have clear and distinctly different roles they serve nearly the exact same constitutes. The municipality is geographically larger and includes several residences located outside the perimeter of the 1700-acre Association. Services available to residents have evolved over the last half century to provide increasingly higher levels of quality.
Early on the Association was the sole governing body of this expansive and quiet private lakefront community, which straddles two townships. To this day, Village residents receive government services from the following multiple providers: two fire departments (Morgan Hose & Rome Township), two high achieving school systems (Grand Valley & Jefferson Area) and two post offices (Rock Creek & Rome). In addition to a full utility infrastructure and professional full-time police services, a lakefront restaurant, a marina and a nearby grocery store combine to make the Village one of the best places to live and play in the region.
Lake Roaming Rock of Roaming Shores is the largest private body of water in Ohio. With a 550-acre surface area, a main channel depth exceeding 35 feet, a 56 slot marina, numerous coves and nearly 30 miles of shoreline, the lake is ideal for recreational boating and fishing. The lake is also a remarkably quiet and accessible due to the fact Roaming Shores residents and their guests are the only allowed users.
As an unapologetic residential community, the Village features 2,189 lots, approximately 900 households, two businesses (a.k.a., a restaurant and marina) and a population of 1,508 (2010 U.S. Census), which rises significantly on weekends and holidays. Roughly 55% of residents are full-time with the remainder being weekend or seasonal.
Roaming Shores is by far the most affluent community in rural Ashtabula County. Hallmarks of the Village include stable and growing property values, significant personal home occupancy rates (i.e., few rentals), and residents who possess a high level of educational attainment.
The Village and the Association serve distinct functions. And, understanding those differences often confuses residents and others. The government or Village is led by an elected six-member council and a mayor with seven full-time and five part-time employees (e.g., four part-time police officers and a part-time village administrator/zoning officer) who provide law enforcement, zoning and code enforcement, drinking water, waste water treatment, and operation of an 800’ earthen and concrete dam.
The home owner’s association is led by an elected seven-member board of directors who direct a year around staff of seven and 20 to 25 summer seasonal employees. The Association maintains the Village’s roads and plow snow, as well as care for two pools, two beaches, dockage at the beaches, the boat ramp, 55 recreation lots, a club house, 20 plus out-buildings, picnic pavilions, baseball fields, basketball and volleyball courts. Other responsibilities include maintaining the road shoulder, dozens of acres of open parklands, issuing permits for all watercraft on the lake, providing lake security, and directing the monumental task of lake management (e.g., water quality, dredging, controlling water level and fish population). Lake activity is of prime concern for the Association; members register 1,200 water craft each year.
Originally, the Association owned 100% of the 26 miles of roads in the community, which made them “private.” However, 27 direct entrances make it impossible to restrict access to the general public. The Village over the years has purchased 1.5 miles of “chip and seal” roadway and is now actively pursuing public works grants in order to make safety improvements as well as widen, drain and reconstruct the surfaces with hot-mix pavement.
The annual operating budget of the Village is $2.1 million; the Association’s budget is in excess of $1 million.
Roaming Shores residents often say their homes are remarkably popular places for family and friends to visit and play. They also claim if you live here there is no need to go on vacation.