“Save the Rock” has become the battle cry of concerned citizens who support rejuvenating White Rock Lake. Advocates have been lobbying City officials so money to dredge the lake will be included in the City’s May bond election.
The dredging proposal was presented to the City Council on Feb. 1. The actual vote for bond election items will not take place until the last meeting in February, or the first meeting in March.
There’s a good chance that White Rock Lake will be included on the bond election, says Councilman Glenn Box. His district includes the lake and he has been working on the issue for several years.
The dredging has a proposed price tag of $15 to $25 million, and Box admits that the real battle will be the amount of money allocated. The Council is reviewing bond requests totaling $600 to $800 million, and only $150 million will be approved, he says.
There is good news to report about the lake. Tests of its sediment indicate it is not environmentally hazardous, says Nancy Begel, an engineer for the City’s Park and Recreation Department. The positive test results mean the sediment that is dredged can be reused, sparing the expense of hazardous waste landfill disposal.
The plan calls for hydraulically dredging an estimated 3 million cubic yards of sediment, which is actually 80 percent water, Begel says. The sediment will be pumped up through booster pump stations, then transported by pipelines. After a dry-out period, it can be mechanically compacted into a reusable form, possibly as fill material for levy construction or as a landfill cover.
But the most “citizen-friendly” proposal is in the Park Department. Begel says many existing parks, tennis courts, soccer fields, and baseball diamonds are located in flood plains. Raising these locations with recycled sediment will reduce maintenance problems and costs. Other areas in need of elevation, such as along the Trinity River, will also benefit from this program. Project costs would be defrayed since purchasing material would be unnecessary.
Save the Rock, a group that was formed to lobby for the lake, has generated tremendous public interest. City departments have received scores of supportive letters. Residents realize this is not just a neighborhood issue. White Rock Lake is a presence in this City and deserves to be saved.
In a few short weeks, the Council will decide on items for the May bond election. Supportive letters are still needed for the White Rock Lake proposal. Remember to address the Mayor and council members individually; it has more of an impact than a blanket letter.