Heavy spring rainfall led to a flood of problems staff at France Park have had to remedy over the last month as they continue to pump water from the swimming lake in hopes of having it open by Memorial Day.
“It was a nightmare,” said France Park Superintendent Lucas Beach, adding that flooding destroyed 6 to 9 feet of gravel road near the swimming and fishing lakes at the park, calling for close to 30,000 pounds of new gravel for the fix. Twenty to 30 feet of the lakes’ banks had to be rebuilt as well.
Beach said the fishing lake has descended to a satisfactory level, but the pump at the swimming lake continues to run 18 hours a day, seven days a week. The pump has been running for about a week now, he said, removing close to half a million gallons a day.
“Honestly, in the last week, it may have went down three inches,” Beach said of the swimming lake.
Beach said he hopes to have the water down to a manageable level by Memorial Day for the lake’s opening.
The device currently removing water from the swimming lake is a four-inch pump. Beach said he is looking for anyone willing to rent or lend a larger one to speed the process.
“The hardest thing is keeping on top of it, making sure the pumps are running and repairing everything as it comes up,” Beach said. “It’s manageable, definitely not the easiest thing in the world but definitely something that can be done as long as we stay on top of it.”
Beach said he typically sees the lakes rise in the spring, but rarely to the amount that occurred this year. The last time the lakes experienced a significant amount of flooding, he said, was in 2010.
“This one was definitely more destructive than in 2010 in terms of what it actually washed away,” he said.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.