FOX47 NEWS - A Lake Brought Back To Life

Jeff Angileri
Jul 5, 2009, 6:45 PM

A lake is brought back to life

And a wisconsin community has a new way to celebrate summer again.

Lake Leota was dying.

Fifty years of silt and agricultural runoff swamped the lake bed, and reduced the average depth to less than two feet.

It was nothing but trees, grass, weeds, and it looked like a little forest, said Tonya Monte, of Evansville.

Now, it is a sparkling jewel once again, thanks to a $1.4 million restoration project. Even in a recession, voters were willing to spend money to bring a lake back to life.

This is a luxury project, said city councilman Mason Braunschweig. And we weren't going to do it if it didn't make sense to people. It did, resounding, over 70 percent of people wanted this project.

Carol Culbertson is one of the voters who approved the November 2008 ballot referendum. It's a part of Evansville's history, and it's something that everyone can enjoy -- picnics, canoeing -- that was why it was worth it, she said.

Jack and Marita Leeder remember life on the lake decades ago.

There was a water slide out there that we used to play on, Jack said. When we were kids and we had 4th of July celebrations, I mean the park would just be full.

It's just a beautiful lake, said Marita. It brings lots of people here.

The lake is on its way to reviving those idyllic summer days. Fishermen have returned since the DNR stocked the lake with minnows. And it is already attracting recreational sports. Robert Tierney opened his R & A Canoeing shop four weeks ago.

I rent boats out, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, Tierney said. We just want to have something else for the kids to do and families to enjoy themselves.

Said Monte, It's a long time coming. I'm glad it's done because it's very beautiful.

Part of the restoration plan includes a man-made reef that will help collect silt and run-off to help prevent the problem from happening again.



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