Simonton Lake build up has neighborhood raising $360K - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Simonton Lake build up has neighborhood raising $360K

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When boating out on Simonton Lake in Elkhart, going through certain channels may cause a problem.  The water is too shallow, thanks to sediments on the bed of the lake. "Right now, boats don't even have a foot of water to go through as you hit the north channel," says the chair of the Environment Committee, John Lendman of the Simonton Lake Area Homeowner's Association.

The Environment Committee recently met with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and a group of dredging vendors to review the water and sediment levels of the lake. "We've been wanting to do this for 20 years, and we've been working at it, but now we have no choice but to do it now." explained Lendman. The Homeowner's Association is looking to raise money to begin a dredging project to start after Labor Day.

Sediment at the bottom of the lake has been building in small area channels as well, as main channels in which boats on Simonton lake navigate from the "big lake" to the "little lake." Lendman says the DNR recognizes sediment as a legitimate lake issue and they have approved the sediment to be removed down to the original lake bottom. The DNR reviewed the lake and confirmed sediment has been building, when they measured and found the bottom of the original lake.

Simonton lake is 301 acres with 190 homes on the big lake, 170 home on the little lake. When the DNR reviewed lake levels they found 66% of the lake is less than 5 ft deep, 50% is about 3.5 ft to 4 ft deep.

The Homeowners Association has a plan already approved by the State of Indiana to begin a dredging process in October of November of 2014. It's looking to raise $500,000 to secure the funding of the entire project. However, the State of Indiana has awarded the Homeowner's Association $200,000 thanks to the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) Program Grant.

The breakdown of the cost are:
  • $300,000        Dredging
  • $150,000        Secure land where sediment will be dumped
  • $40,000          20% of the LARE Grant given back to the State of Indiana.

The first phase Lendman would cost roughly $360,000, but they already have almost half of the cost covered. They are hoping to get a donation from each home owner on the lake of $500.

Lendman says all dredging bids will be in by May 28, where it will then be decided by a four person committee. He says they'll decided on a bid in June, hoping to start the first phase of the project.

Looking at the aerial view graphic, the first phase is the big narrow and public access site (seen in yellow and green) Lendman says that would begin, hopefully, after Labor Day weekend. The second phase of the project, the north and south narrows (seen in the blue and orange lines) would begin in 2015.
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