The mood was celebratory at Monday’s South Middleton Township supervisors meeting as Save the Lake Foundation representatives were presented with checks totaling $50,500 for engineering repairs to Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs.

This year, South Middleton procured the $400,000 needed to begin the project’s design phase, including $150,000 from the township’s local design funds, $25,000 from F&M Trust, and $12,500 each from Allen Distribution and R.S. Mowery & Sons. This, along with $200,000 pledged by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, is enough to cover engineering costs for repairs to the lake that Supervisor Tom Faley called “the heart of our community.”

Tim Henry of F&M Trust, Gary Heishman of Allen Distribution and Don Mowery of R.S. Mowery & Sons presented donation checks to Brad Group and Dallas Bailey, of the Bubbler Foundation, and Jorie Hanson, who co-chairs the Save the Lake Foundation with Liz Knouse. Boiling Springs Lions Club president James Compton presented an additional $500 check gleaned from collection jar donations.

“This is a full-circle moment for me. It’s amazing the number of people who came to help,” Hanson said.

Faley said on Tuesday that $2.4 million has been appropriated for Children’s Lake repairs, but “Gov. Wolf has to sign to release the money.”

If all goes as planned, Faley said, project engineering will begin in 2018, followed by dam repairs starting in 2019.

Township Manager Cory Adams said on Tuesday that officials haven’t yet determined if it will be the township or the state that reviews engineering and construction contractor bids for the project. “We’re still working out the specifics to that,” Adams said.

For the second year in a row, Boiling Spring’s Christmas tree lighting will take place on a gazebo on the shore of Children’s Lake next to the Appalachian Trail. Traditionally, the village’s Christmas tree floats on a raft in the lake, but Faley said that isn’t possible this year due to the lake’s lowered water level.

Group effort

Save The Lake was formed this year with the backing of the Bubbler Foundation where charitable, tax-deductible donations can be made by the community and corporatate sponsors. Since its inception last spring, Save The Lake has raised upwards of $10,000 through the sale of merchandise and donations.

“It’s not very often you see so many groups come together for one cause,” said township supervisors chairman Bryan Gembusia. “You usually see it during a tragedy, but this is before a tragedy happened (to the Children’s Lake dam). Let’s get those (Save the Lake) signs in the yard so the governor can see it.”

Adams also credited the work of township solicitor Bryan Saltmann in “pulling all of this together.”

Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed a deficit patch measure for state’s $3.2 billion budget that includes a $2.4 million appropriation to the state Fish and Boat Commission for repairs to Children’s Lake. Wolf’s office, however, hasn’t yet released the appropriated money. Officials said they hope it may happen within the next few months.

“We’re working to release the money from the governor’s office,” Sen. Mike Regan told Monday’s crowd of around 50 Save The Lake supporters. “We’re so close to getting this done, but we’ve got to keep up the fight. We’ve got to reach out to our governor. The money’s there and it’s earmarked for this, but it could go for somewhere else. ... I’m very optimistic about this, though.”