FOX47 NEWS - Salvaging the Summer

Jeff Angileri
Aug 31, 2008, 6:04 PM

This summer has been tough for Wisconsin Dells businesses--bad weather, a struggling economy, and the Lake Delton effect.

Nearly three months later, the image of an empty lake is still staggering.

It was absolutely surreal, said Dawn Baker, general manager of Sunset Bay Resort. I've lived in the Dells all my life, and it was just really unbelievable.

With knee-high seaweed blowing in the wind, Lake Delton resembles Wisconsin prairie land. Footprints are everywhere in this sandy chasm. It's the newest tourist attraction.

We saw quite a few visitors that were here to take a look at the lake, and the aftermath of what happened that day, said Dan Collar, co-owner of Monk's Restaurant.

They're excited about seeing the lake, in a weird way, because they know they'll never see it like this again, said Baker.

Despite the novelty, business is down sixty percent at some lakeside businesses.

I've never looked forward to a summer ending, but this time I think we all agree that we want it over with, said Baker. We're waiting for next year.

Across town, where the water is gushing, so are the people. Water parks have become financial oases in this resort town, thanks in part, to a sunny, hot Labor Day weekend.

We were down about forty percent at the peak of the season, said TIm Gantz, co-owner of Noah's Ark Waterpark. We roared back to be only a couple of percentage points down. So we're very grateful for the end of the summer we're having. It's just beautiful.

And as fall begins, business owners both on and off the lake, can't wait for Lake Delton to be refilled--an action they hope will eventually fill the void in their registers.

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