City lake cleanup underway
The city lake is getting a little help from some friends.
The Friends of the Baldwin City Recreation Commission organization has taken on the task of cleaning up Spring Creek Lake, also known as Baldwin City Lake, southeast of town.
"The lake has a huge potential for everybody, but it's been neglected," Katie Skinner, Friends chairwoman, said. "There are trees growing on the dam, there's a ton of vandalism. It's not used as much as it once was."
Skinner said Friends wanted to tackle a project that would make an immediate difference without costing a lot of money.
"We're low in finances, but high in motivation," she said. "We feel like the lake is something we don't need a lot of money to make a lot of improvements."
Friends has compiled a list of cleanup goals it would like to have accomplished in the next five years. While not all of the plans are set in stone, the organization has already begun working on the first phase.
Skinner said a few members of the group spent April 12 at the lake picking up trash, clearing brush and weeds to the water's edge and cutting down trees growing along the dam.
"The areas that have been cleaned up are now being used," she said.
Friends also has plans in the near future to clean up more brush and weeds, repair the dock and guard rails, install picnic tables and a portable toilet and improve security, possibly with the addition of some gates, she said.
The organization also approached the Baldwin City Council about the use of a backhoe for help in clearing areas allowing easier access to the water for fishing.
Skinner said the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has also helped by stocking the lake with more than 2,000 grass carp in an effort to clear and improve the water.
Future lake-improvement plans Friends is considering include adding new shelters, trail enhancements, permanent bathrooms, barbecue pits, new docks and a rock parking lot.
"If we make these little differences, we're going to gather more support," she said.
The group also wants to coordinate its cleanup efforts with the Boy Scouts.
"They already do a lot of great work out there," she said.
Friends would also like to see signs installed, she said, directing people to the lake.
"That's a big thing," she said. "People don't know where the lake is because there are no signs."
She said much of the finances needed for these improvements can be obtained through grants and endowment funds.
She encouraged people to get involved in the cleanup, whether it's through monetary donations with Friends memberships or spending some time working at the lake.
The cleanup effort, Skinner said, is one that benefits everybody.
"This is more of a community thing than a recreation thing," she said. "This is a Baldwin City thing.
"The enhancement of the lake would make it more usable and attract people to the area," she said. "If that starts to happen, the rest of it just snowballs."