An information meeting Wednesday night at the South Middleton Township building will get residents and community organizations up to speed about what is being done to locally fund repairs and restoration at Children’s Lake.
Jorie Hanson, a Boiling Springs resident who has been working behind the scenes to organize efforts for the lake, said the meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday will bring everyone together and recognize those who have already donated.
The township previously reported that local fundraising, as well as funds from the township and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, was enough to jump-start the design work on repairs at the lake.
The water level at Children’s Lake has been 2 feet below normal since last summer after water was found to be piping into the ground, making it unstable. The dam partially collapsed, and the Fish & Boat Commission estimates the price tag to repair it is $1.8 million.
Hanson said there is a line item in the state budget that will allow for that funding. But should the budget not be passed as is, or that line item is taken out, it’s possible the state funding may not come through.
To prepare for that, Hanson said residents with the backing of the Bubbler Foundation have created a Save the Lake fund, where charitable, tax-deductible donations can be made by the community and corporate sponsors.
Hanson said she and other volunteers are looking to continue the push for fundraising and for seeking grants to help build funds for the lake. Even if the dam repair is funded by that state budget line item, she said residents already have other ideas as to what can be done with the lake.
“We’re also looking at ways to improve the lake,” she said. “There’s already a consensus on silt removal. It will be an incredible opportunity to do that with construction of the dam.”
Hanson said Fish & Boat will have to drain the lake to fix the dam, and during that time, volunteers can look at projects including silt removal. The commission has helped volunteers with measurements to give an estimate on how much silt needs to be removed. Hanson said they hope to have a grant for that removal, which could be around $400,000 to $450,000.
Other projects bandied around by residents include habitat restoration to make fishing more challenging and to create natural aerators for better oxygenation in the lake. Another idea involves a handicapped-accessible pier with overhead cover.
Before they get working on those ideas, however, Hanson said fundraising is the priority for much of this year.
A Save the Lake T-shirt is in the works, as is a special print by local artist Gerald Putt, whose art regularly won the Pennsylvania Duck Stamp contest. The painting will be the first one Putt has made of Boiling Springs since 1995.
The limited edition print and the T-shirts will be on sale starting on Foundry Day on June 3.
Hanson said other fundraising events are being planned for this year, a GoFundMe page will be set up, and a Save the Lake sign will be posted at the clock tower near the lake.