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Dredging pond at park could cost $150,000

Dog park still a possibility

Caption
(Philip Marruffo/pmarruffo@saukvalley.com)
The pond at Thomas Park, which also serves as a stormwater retention pond for the city of Sterling, has been taken over by algae. The Sterling Park District and city are considering dredging it, but the work will cost upward of $100,000, officials say.

STERLING – The pond at Thomas Park needs work.

Because of its low water level, the result of a lack of rain, the water heats up faster and algae forms on the surface, causing the pond to look discolored, Sterling Park District Executive Director Larry Schuldt said.

"I've never seen it anywhere near this bad," he said.

Fixing the problem involves dredging the pond, which is about 6 feet deep. More water would take longer to heat up.

But estimates say that would cost between $100,000 and $175,000, Schuldt said.

It also is a stormwater retention pond for the city.

Sterling City Manager Scott Shumard said he received an estimate of $255,000 to dredge it as a worst-case scenario.

That includes disposing of the organic material, which also would need to be checked for contaminants, per EPA regulations.

Both the city and the Park District have a vested interest in dredging the pond, Shumard said.

"I kind of see it as a joint venture," he said. "There’s a recreational aspect as well as a stormwater retention [aspect]."

Also, in a continued effort to build a dog park in Thomas Park, the Sterling Bark Park Exploratory Committee is discussing plans to expand its fundraising focus.

To date, the committee has raised $3,700, Schudlt said, adding that the Park District is willing to donate the land and potentially funds once the committee gets close to its goal.

The committee approached the Park District at the end of 2012 and expressed an interest.

Micki Dettman, a committee member, said their goal is $58,000 for fencing, and no longer the larger $150,000 to $200,000 for the entire conceptual plan, which includes an agility course and areas for large and small dogs.  

The larger conceptual plan hasn't been abandoned, she said, but the committee has decided to focus on the fencing as a first step.

The committee is discussing fundraising events for 2014, which Dettman said could focus on a family fun day, a 5K run or a car show, to expand fundraising beyond just dog owners.

The committee has a Facebook page and a brochure, but still struggles with spreading awareness of its cause and bringing in volunteers, Dettman said.

"I think it's like anything else. It's just tough to raise money for things," Schuldt said. "Certainly a lot of people have dogs, but it's a narrower market of people who may use a dog park."

For more information

Go to the Sterling Bark Park Exploratory Committee's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/sterlingdogpark, or contact one of the members to learn more about the proposal. They are:

- Jeff Kuchel: kuchelracing@comcast.net

- Jessica Delimata: rustnmiles@hotmail.com

- JoAnn Wilson: fawneyblue5@yahoo.com

- Kasey Magill: kmuncila@yahoo.com

- Kim Fisk: ksfisk@gmail.com

- Micki Dettman: micki.dettman@kindredhealthcare.com

- Pat McLeod: mcleod.07@comcast.net

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