Bloomington is preparing to remove enough dirt from Griffy Lake to fill more than two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The city is receiving bids for the work and plans to start removing the sediment next month. The contractor will be required to remove weeds and sediment from the 109-acre lake to deepen the lake and create greater mobility for wildlife.
Bloomington Parks and Recreation Natural Resources Manager Steve Cotter say sediment flowing into the lake has made some parts impassible to boats.
“When we’ve had droughts the last several years this is virtually impassable by any but the real shallow boats like canoes and kayaks. So we really want to get a bunch of sediment out of here so that people can use the lake even at low water,” Cotter says.
Cotter says making the lake deeper will also keep light from reaching plants on the lake floor. That means the plants won’t grow as fast, causing hazards for boats.
The City of Bloomington Utilities Department has agreed to store the sediment at the old Winston Thomas Sewage Treatment Plant and hopes to use the dirt once the city develops the McDowell Switchyard.
Cotter says that he hopes to reach an agreement with one of the contractors and to present the proposal to the Parks and Recreation Board on July 30, which would place the digging on sediment in August.
This project will be funded in part by a $96,000 Lakes and Rivers and Enhancement Fund grant provided by the state. This fund is separate from the $1.5 million federal grant allocated for the repairs for the dam fund, and will be largely completed by October 1.