Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lake Alvamar dam set for $1.4 million upgrade

Dick Stuntz, president of Alvamar Inc., walks along a dock that should be floating in Lake Alvamar, formerly called Yankee Tank Lake, on March 18, 2009. A new top, a wider spillway and broader base will be added to the Lake Alvamar dam during the coming year, fortifying flood protection for a major road, a state highway and recreational complex downstream.

Dick Stuntz, president of Alvamar Inc., walks along a dock that should be floating in Lake Alvamar, formerly called Yankee Tank Lake, on March 18, 2009. A new top, a wider spillway and broader base will be added to the Lake Alvamar dam during the coming year, fortifying flood protection for a major road, a state highway and recreational complex downstream.

December 27, 2011

Advertisement

A new top, a wider spillway and broader base will be added to the Lake Alvamar dam during the coming year, fortifying flood protection for a major road, a state highway and recreational complex downstream.

King’s Construction Co. Inc. will handle the $1.4 million job to upgrade the dam, adjacent to the Jayhawk Tennis Center, 5200 Clinton Parkway. The vegetation-covered clay regulates the speed and amount of water flowing under Clinton Parkway, the South Lawrence Trafficway and through a nearby municipal recreational complex.

Work on the dam is expected to begin in the coming weeks and be finished next fall, in time to allow the watershed lake to start holding water again. The lake effectively has been dry since 2007, when it was drained for repairs but not allowed to refill because of safety concerns.

That’s because ongoing construction of homes, parking lots, roads and other hard surfaces upstream had led regulators to reclassify the dam as a “high hazard” structure, one requiring additional safeguards against dangers that weren’t present when the rural dam originally had been built to manage the flow of Yankee Tank Creek.

Upstream from the dam is the Lake Alvamar subdivision, site of a number of high-end homes, including one valued at more than $1 million overlooking the lake. Some vacant lots along the water command values of $200,000 or more.

Construction throughout the broad drainage area upstream has sent more water moving faster into the lake, said Dick Stuntz, general manager of Alvamar Golf and Recreation Facility and a member of the Wakarusa Watershed Joint District No. 35, which is in charge of the project.

Because culverts beneath Clinton Parkway and the trafficway were designed and built with the dam in place — but before the significant development upstream — upgrading the structure became a priority, Stuntz said.

Nearly three years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed to spend spent $230,000 to come up with a plan for upgrades.

Now, the federal government is pumping $1 million into the contract with King’s Construction to:

• Double the width of the dam’s auxiliary spillway, and strengthening it by covering the spillway with concrete or rock.

• Broaden the base of the dam into portions of This Field and That Field, two former ball diamonds that had been managed by a previous owner, Sport2Sport.

• Add 6 feet to the top of the dam itself.

To make the dam stronger and taller, crews will use clay removed while widening the spillway, said Dale Ping, an estimator for the Oskaloosa-based firm. Bulldozers, backhoes, dump trucks and other equipment will be on site into the fall, with crews working some Saturdays to get the lake back into working order.

“We should be done in the fall,” he said.

While the bulk of project expenses will be covered by the federal government, several local sources also are being tapped. Among them:

• A benefit district that includes Alvamar and about 30 other owners of property around and above the lake, $180,000.

• City of Lawrence, $50,000.

• Douglas County, $50,000.

Other contributors include the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Athletics Inc., the Kansas Department of Transportation and the watershed district itself, Stuntz said.

“If the dam is not adequate … there is a chance for a great loss of property and a loss of life,” said Stuntz, who noted that expanding culverts beneath the trafficway instead would have been expected to cost up to $10 million.

Comments

blindrabbit 2 years, 3 months ago

Save the taxpayers, tear down the damn dam, fill in and that way Alvamar can sell the newly created lots, thus creating taxable lots for development. This way everybody wins, no loss but gains to the rest of us taxpayers, and nobody feeling that a few rich owners get the benefit of a lake that the rest of us cannot enjoy. Also will not need to create a new fish ladder to allow the endangered prairie trout to migrate upstream to it's historic spawning grounds on Upper Yankee Tank Creek just offf the intersection of Bob White Road and Bob Billings Parkway. This proposal should make the right-wingers, the liberals, the environmentalists, the do-gooders, the silver spooners and the downtrodden equally treated and happy.

0

Dan Blomgren 2 years, 3 months ago

The landowners and Alvamar are helping with the cost, $180k compared to City of Lawrence and Douglas County only kicking in 50k each. Sure the rebuild benefits those around the lake, but it also protects city and county property as well, so why should the landowners foot the entire bill? Everyone pays their fair share with the landowners paying over 3X the city or county. Not to mention with the lake being refilled the property values will increase and the landowners will be hit with higher taxes too. The Fed's are kicking in 1M, but that's coming from Obama's stimulus package that I'm sure all you bleeding heart liberals wanted in the first place. Any of you complaining want a piece of that land? Last I checked we still live in America so make a fair offer to one of the landowners then you too can benefit, otherwise stop crying. It seems fair to me, and if a few landowners benefit then fine.

0

bangaranggerg 2 years, 3 months ago

Oh man I had forgotten how far LJworld commenters are removed from reality, it's been a while.. oh well back to never looking at the comment sections.

0

Apollo Hernandez 2 years, 3 months ago

Nice to see my tax money being used for yet another thing I cannot partake in...

0

Jane 2 years, 3 months ago

It's nice there is a boardwalk so as not to get their footwear dirty, but it looks kinda old and needs replaced too.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

At the very least, valuations of the properties around this lake should reflect their "lakefront" location, so that local government entities at least see higher property tax revenues as a result of significant government expenditures on their behalf.

0

10sne1 2 years, 3 months ago

As referenced under the lead picture, Dick Stuntz is no longer the President of Alvamar, Inc. He was voted out in fall of this year (check your facts, LJ World). It is not surprising, however that most of the money is coming from other places besides Alvamar, Inc...as their new management company has run the golf club WELL into the red after taking over in mid-May. Unless they sold off some of their remaining real estate assets, there is NO WAY Alvamar, Inc could fund a million dollar-plus water shed project.

0

Andini 2 years, 3 months ago

Is Dick Stuntz a stage name?

0

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 3 months ago

How does this project serve the public interest? It serves the public interest just fine now that all the water has been drained out.

The only reason this public money is being wasted is to fill the hole up with water.

No water, no taxpayer money needed. If the private property owners want water, let them pay for it.

0

Scott Morgan 2 years, 3 months ago

At least in other states if public money is used to improve impoundments citizens are then given reasonable access to the waters for fishing/hunting.

Some farmers and landowners are fine with this, others will never tell you. Some simply leave giant angry bulls in the area and tell you good fishing. Hint, look for large culverts near roads.

0

hitme 2 years, 3 months ago

Let's rename it after the former coach with the losing record (instead of a street). At least then, I can smile when I hear someone mention it.

0

sierraclub 2 years, 3 months ago

Hey, the Lawrence Liberals deserve the best

0

Eride 2 years, 3 months ago

The land owners should be paying every cent of the local cost. The county and city shouldn't be picking up anything.

0

hujiko 2 years, 3 months ago

Article from 2009 when this story first surfaced: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/mar...

Article from earlier this year: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/jun/15/lawsuit-over-expansion-lake-alvamar-dam-resolved-s/#c1659744

The overwhelming majority of posters from articles pertaining to this issue want public access should public funds be used. How about the public gains usage along any areas set to be improved, that way the land owners get their increased property value and the public is allowed to enjoy recreational aspects.

0

James Minor 2 years, 3 months ago

The public pays and doesn't get a green fees break on the private side - hum? 10 free rounds on the private side for any golfer in Lawrence that wants it. How about that idea for meeting the public halfway!!!

0

bangaranggerg 2 years, 3 months ago

City and county money are used on plenty of projects that are ecologically or geologically beneficial to the community's drainage and water flow management, etc. I really don't understand how a reasonable person could be upset by this. Crazy talk...

0

West_Sider 2 years, 3 months ago

See page D-11 & D-12 for the real reason this little pet project is going to happen...

ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/KS/Outgoing/Web_Files/Programs/ws_rehab/wakarusa/wakarusa_AppD.pdf

0

consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

I am gonna take my hillbilly relative there for a picnic and some water fun, maybe even take my jet ski.

0

bangaranggerg 2 years, 3 months ago

What's the story on how it went from being known as Lake Yankee Tank to being called Lake Alvamar? Is that official? Really glad to hear about this project. Good luck to the crews!

0

hujiko 2 years, 3 months ago

Now that the public is footing some of the bill, will the public gain access to this West Lawrence gem?

Highly doubtful.

0

Keith 2 years, 3 months ago

Public pays for a private lake, sounds about right. Socialism is only bad when it benefits the poor.

0

consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

What a bunch of BS. Drain it and make it a culvert. A lot cheaper. There was a lake in my neighborhood but the houses were less than $200.000. so they drained the lake. Money talks.

0

consumer1 2 years, 3 months ago

What a bunch of BS. Drain it and make it a culvert. A lot cheaper. There was a lake in my neighborhood but the houses were less than $200.000. so they drained the lake. Money talks.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.