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Park lake level to stay up, keeping foul odors down

June 08, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

The city may avoid causing a stink at Hagerstown City Park this year.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said workers have begun draining the upper lake at City Park - the largest section of the lake - in preparation for work along the lake's edge to begin next week.

But the lake may not need to be drained as low as previously thought, Tissue said.

The lake will be drained "the absolute minimum we can to still let them work," he said.

Tissue had said earlier this year the lake would be drained about 2 feet, which would have meant that some of the fish in the lake - mostly carp - would have to be taken to other ponds.

Draining the lake also could expose smelly mud usually covered by the lake's waters.

"That's another reason not to take it all the way out," Tissue said. "To combat the odors."

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Tissue said that, for now, workers aren't planning to move any fish, and the lake is expected to be drained only about 1 foot.

As of Monday, the lake had been drained of about 6 inches of water, exposing more lake wall, but not any of the lake bed. Abundant fish churned in the shallow water.

Tissue said it is estimated the project will cost $495,000. Crews will replace nearly 1,000 feet of crumbling walls in two sections around the lake.

Tissue said workers also will replace buckling sidewalks and add new sidewalks to the area near the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and a seating area near Virginia Avenue. He said the contractor will install steps leading from the lake to the museum and substantially landscape the area near the museum.

Tissue said he expects the work to be in full swing by next week and to be completed by October or November. He said this is the third and final phase of lake wall enhancements begun in the mid-1990s.

One park user said he was not worried about the planned construction.

"I noticed it looks a little dirtier than normal," said Carlos Hidrobo, 20, of Hagerstown, who was sketching along the lake Monday afternoon.

"As long as it's not going to get a bunch of concrete in the pond, or mess with the balance" of nature, Hidrobo said. "I'm just here to enjoy it."

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