Blame it on the geese choking the lake, lawn-care chemical run-off from nearby homes or shear age, but Veterans Memorial Lake has a serious problem with toxic blue-green algae. This has made the popular recreational area murky for years, and the solution to the issue remains just as clouded.
After several attempts to rid the lake of the nasty algae blooms, the Great Bend City Council voted last fall to hire an Englewood, Colo., consulting firm to make remediation suggestions. Monday night, the Council OKed the implementation of the plans presented by CH2M Hill.
This involves a multi-prong approach. Although the plan calls for chemical treatment to lower some of the phosphorus in the lake, it also calls for steps to stop more phosphorus from coming in since it is what feeds the algae. The biggest causes of this phosphorus influx are the geese and storm-water runoff.
The contamination of Vets Lake has been an annual story of late as state health officials label it unsuitable for recreational purposes. Justifiably, city officials want this to stop.
They are tired of reports from the state and complaints from residents.
At one time, the city held its Fourth of July fireworks display at the lake. There was also a time when there were boat races and other events in the water.
However, those memories have faded and replaced with images of slime and dead fish.
But, last September, the city held its first-ever Party in the Park with activities around the body of water. Nothing took place in the lake, but the party made people realize just how much of an asset that facility really is to the community.
Now, our civic leaders face a daunting challenge. They have to balance the lake’s value with the cost to clean it.
They understand both sides of this.
We, as residents of Great Bend, must understand as well. If we want this park to once again be a gem in our crown, then we must be willing to support the cost of restoring it.
If not, the only other option is to let it continue to deteriorate until it is useless to everyone, including the geese.