Park lake dredging underway

December 28, 2018

By Tesa Glass

MT. VERNON — After more than a year of discussions, the City Council decided on a plan of management for the lake at Veterans Park and it includes dredging, which is now underway and expected to take several weeks.

“We’ve been looking at this issue for 18 months,” said Mayor John Lewis. “I’ve been talking to various groups throughout the city for 18 months trying to get a feel. We’ve been trying to push this because that’s been one of the things that’s been debated in this community for many years — the condition of the park lake. We’re going to do something, good, bad or indifferent.”

Estimates were received for dredging, to dig and remove the silt building and re-establish the lake, to abandon the lake and install an open ditch through the former lake bottom and to abandon the lake and install box culverts through the former lake bottom.

“After 18 months, my feel was maybe the city was split with a slight majority just to fill it in and not spend any more money on it,” Lewis said. “However, with the figures, you’re looking $500,000 to fix the lake, $500,000 to fill it in, or $2 million if you want to run culverts and not have any kind of ditch through there. There were no cheap options.”

The council decided to go with dredging the lake using a backhoe and haul the silt to city property, which would take 2-feet, 10-inches of silt from the bottom of the 5.7 acre lake. Also during the first year of the 10 year maintenance plan, a silt catch basin will be constructed at the upper end of the lake, undergrowth will be removed from the two inaccessible islands and an egg-oiling process will begin in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture.

“The option we picked over a 10 years period will run a little over $400,000,” Lewis said. “It’s going to be the cheapest way out for the taxpayer and fix the lake.”

Year two plans for maintenance of the lake call for pond dye treatment, chemical treatment of the lake for weeds, riprap the perimeter where there is none at this time, add to the existing riprap, perform concrete repairs to the spillway which includes adding steel beams, cleaning old concrete and epoxy coating, repair a column and repainting.

Year three plans for maintenance include pond dye treatment, weed treatment, riprap added to downstream ditch below the spillway, overlay the walking path and de-silt the upper end silt basin area.
The fourth year, pond dye treatment and weed treatment are the maintenance.

In year five, the plan calls for the pond dye treatment, weed treatment and de-silt the upper end silt basin. Year six is pond dye and weed treatment; year seven calls for the dye and weed treatment in addition to de-silting the upper silt basin area; year eight the dye and weed treatments; and year nine the dye, weeds and de-silt of the upper end silt basin area. The 10th year calls for the dye and weed treatment, perform a depth of silt survey and hire a dredging contractor for a 10-year cleaning. The total estimated cost is listed at $427,776.

“Essentially, we’re going to dredge the first year and put a maintenance program in place,” Lewis said. “We have a 10-year plan. As long as we can keep up the maintenance on the park lake, we will never get to this condition again. However, if a future administration and council does not continue to maintain the lake each and every year, we will be right back in this spot at some point in the future.”

Dredging is now underway at the lake in Veterans Park. While the dredging is taking place, the trail around the lake is temporarily closed.