Archive for Friday, May 1, 2009

Federal government will finance study of dam at Lake Alvamar

Lake hadn’t been allowed to be filled because dam didn’t meet standards

May 1, 2009


Rep. Lynn Jenkins speaks to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and local dignitaries at the Dole Center for Politics over lunch in this May 2 photo. Jenkins was in Topeka Wednesday as part of her listening tour focused on health care reform.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins speaks to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and local dignitaries at the Dole Center for Politics over lunch in this May 2 photo. Jenkins was in Topeka Wednesday as part of her listening tour focused on health care reform.

Jenkins searches for economic answers

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins said she is working to fight through the economic downturn without increased spending. Enlarge video

U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins isn’t sure whether the dam at Lake Alvamar might be upgraded, or when the lake in southwestern Lawrence might be filled once again, but she does know one thing for certain.

A federal study will start the process toward helping adjacent property owners, local governments and others upstream in the urbanizing watershed understand just what needs to be done.

“It’s critical,” said Jenkins, R-Kan.

The federal government will finance a $230,000 study to outline options for addressing issues with the lake’s dam, which is considered too low to meet current standards. The lake’s dam is north of Clinton Parkway, about midway between Wakarusa Drive and the South Lawrence Trafficway.

Jenkins announced Friday that money for the study had been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Recourses Conservation Service.

The study, to be conducted by a private engineering firm, will be expected to last 12 months. In the end, it will determine just what would need to be done to upgrade the 36-year-old dam.

The lake has been effectively empty since 2007, when a drainage plug was removed for repairs. Because the dam does not meet standards for its location, the Wakarusa Watershed Joint District has not been permitted to refill the lake.

The empty lake has left some owners of adjacent, high-dollar homes unhappy. There’s been talk of reduced property valuations, which could affect local property tax revenue.

Jenkins toured the site in April and soon secured support from fellow Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., for financing the study.

“It’s kind of amazing, and we’re tickled to have been able to help,” Jenkins said, in town for a luncheon Friday with about 80 members of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and their guests at the Dole Institute of Politics. “The study is what they really need to get started, to get something done. You need to get the ball rolling.”

Jeff Gross, assistant state conservationist for NRCS in Salina, said that the study’s recommendations would be open for public comment before going before watershed board members for a decision about how to proceed. Any repairs would be financed by the federal government (65 percent) and the watershed and its partners (35 percent).

The condition of the dam and the lake it forms — formerly known as Yankee Tank Lake — ranks as the NRCS’ top priority for repairs in Kansas, he said.

“It’s moved up the list,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest.”

Requests for financing repairs would go up against others nationwide, Gross said. Construction financing would not be expected to be available until 2011 at the earliest.


kmat 8 years, 10 months ago

Wonderful. Our tax dollars go to pay for studying a private lakebed and dam that rich b*tches are upset about because their view has been ruined and over inflated property values are going down. Govt working at it's finest. Make sure the richest have pretty views and private lakes while people are going hungry. Our lawmakers need their priorities checked.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 10 months ago

Is there going to be public access to this lake after it's been rebuilt? Will our Congressional Reps make that happen, as well?

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Public Money = public dam lake

Here come the college boys and girls for their all nighters YES!

Flap Doodle 8 years, 10 months ago

"klght"? Promoting another of your stinking pits, Nick? Epic fail coming right up.

Outwest 8 years, 10 months ago

Marion, before you put up the website, at least get the location correct. It is not on any of the golf courses.

Babaloo 8 years, 10 months ago

Awesome. The rich folks, who worked hard to get Jenkins elected, now get money to help the lake near their giant homes. $200k + of our tax money because their property values have gone down and we can't afford to keep our homeless shelters?

I know, let's fix Lake Alvamar and then put the proposed "Homeless Campsite" (terrible idea BTW), out there. Talk about tax dollars at work and synergy!

Chris Ogle 8 years, 10 months ago

And just think.... they paid money to listen to her crap.

Bud Stagg 8 years, 10 months ago

So if you don't fix the dam, they adjust the property values way down because the "rich" peoples homes are not worth as much. This then affects the amount of taxes "we" taxpayers can collect on their property. I don't know the actual values here, but If they decrease the value of those homes a total of 1 million dollars, that is 10's of thousands of dollars each year it will cost us in uncollected taxes. That doesn't make me happy either.

So either way we lose. I say spend the money and do the right thing, fix the dam. We will be paid back by keeping the property values up and collecting the extra taxes on that value.

dandelion 8 years, 10 months ago

Why not force them to form a benefit district and have the home owners pay for it over time? That's what my neighborhood would have to do if they wanted the street, which is owned by the city, fixed. Fix my streets first, then I might not mind fixing their stupid lake. I pay taxes too, and get crummy streets. They have great streets and a friggin lake too?

Carol Bowen 8 years, 10 months ago

I couldn't believe what I was reading. This is obviously a $230,000 pay back. We are using federal tax dollars to study a watershed on private property because high-dollar homeowners are unhappy ... because of what?

We live near the bottom of the watershed and have been very unhappy since it started raining. We have had no sympathy for our flooded basements.

dandelion 8 years, 10 months ago

Yet the people in these Alavamar houses are the first to complain about paying taxes, and probably vote for those who promise tax cuts. They complain out of one side of their mouth about Obama and spending, then they want some of it to fix their lake. It's just like the morons who are so gungho for the 2 wars we are fighting, but don't expect them to pay more taxes to pay for the war. War good, taxes bad. It's illogical at best, hypocritical at worse.

Carol Bowen 8 years, 10 months ago

There's supposed to be a public hearing. Here's the email for the assistant state conservationist for NRCS:

SeaBee 8 years, 10 months ago

Way to bring home the Bacon (oops,pork), Lynn!

And you are so fiscally conservative (except for the prosperous).

Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Rumor has it that Jenkins and Gere McElheney are very very close which caused the split.

Now what's a few hundred thousand considering no private insurance group will risk insuring Nuke Power Plants.

All nuke power plants are insured by the taxpayers as noted Friday night on C-span by legislators. We taxpayers must have a lot of spare change. Why are taxpayers funding expensive electricity to ourselves?

Hydropower,wind and solar are by far the better bang for buck and our monthly bills.

We must be nuts to fund expensive energy that we pay for several times before receiving our monthly energy tax/bill. Nuke power receives tax subsidies galore according to legislators on C-span Friday night.

Now if they turn this dam into a hydropower unit that might be something to disucss. If not it would make more sense to invest that money in our local hydro power unit on the Kansas river.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 10 months ago

and, again it is worth noting: Merrill has seriously stated his support for power outages ... because they force energy conservation!

besides, again he's on a wacko tangent trying to highjack this thread.

Merrill=seriously misguided.

Jonathan Becker 8 years, 10 months ago

Will they recommend to fix the dam with Jenkins? She would make excellent fodder.

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