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Panel says lake needs dredging

April 10, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Planning Commission wants the city to consider finding money to dredge the Hagerstown City Park lake because of an increasing problem with what one commission member called "muck and sludge."

At the city's request, the Planning Commission reviewed the proposed $15.8 million city Capital Improvement Program budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The proposed budget includes $250,000 for the final phase of work to replace the stone wall that surrounds the lake, which has deteriorated over time. In order to replace the wall, the city lowers the water level by opening a spillway, city officials said.

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Planning Commission members Jim Stone and Steve Zaks said the City Council should consider dredging the whole lake, instead of just part of it, to address the muck and silt build-up.

The problem is mostly the result of duck and goose droppings, algae build-up and dust, Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner said.

The request was part of a motion approved by the Planning Commission.

Breichner said the city has no plans to dredge the lake. He did not know how much that work would cost but he was skeptical the city could find money to do that work in an already tight budget, he said.

The city needs to do something soon, Stone said.

"It is filling up with muck ... and sludge," he said. There are parts of the lake where the amount of built up sludge is higher than the water level, he said.

Councilwoman Carol Moller, an ex officio member of the Planning Commission, said she thinks it would make sense for the city to check, when the water level is lowered, to see if the lake needs to be dredged.

During the meeting, the commission also expressed concern about the city's plans to defer some capital projects in order to balance the $84.1 million budget.

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