For more than a century, Lake Redwood has been part of the Redwood Falls landscape, but for the past several decades it has not been the kind of site it had been in its heyday.
In recent years, plans have been made, funds allocated and monitoring conducted to reclaim the lake, but in the end the sediment keeps settling and the water gets more shallow.
With that in mind another effort moved forward in the state legislature to allocate funds to the Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Association (RCRCA) to “predesign, design, construct and equip the reservoir reclamation and enhancement of the 66-acre Lake Redwood reservoir.”
The funding allocation request is for just over $7.8 million from bond proceeds.
According to District 16 Sen. Gary Dahms, who authored the legislation in the Minnesota Senate, the bill has had a hearing, and a few Redwood Falls folks actually came up to testify at the hearing.
A state bonding bill, said Dahms, originates in the House, and at this time the funding allocation is not in the bonding bill proposal.
Of course, he said that doesn’t mean it won’t be by the time the bill actually is voted on by the legislature before the session ends.
A companion bill was introduced in the House by District 16B Rep. Paul Torkelson. That bill has also received a hearing.
“To say what is going to happen would be a guess,” said Dahms, adding he continues to work on getting funds for the project.
Even if the bill is not part of the bonding bill this year, which could be limited to improvements for the Capitol building and roads and bridges, having the bill in the process could help when the 2014 session – when bonding becomes a more focused part of the legislative work – starts.
“This is a work in progress,” said Gary Revier, Redwood Falls mayor, adding funds were approved to re-claim the lake six years ago, but the bureaucracy of the project kept it from ever taking place.
Revier said the ultimate goal is to get the lake back to its intended purpose – creating hydroelectric power and offering a place for the public to recreate.
Revier said although the water itself is not an issue right now the sediment is not conducive to recreation.
Doug Goodrich agreed the water quality, because of its shallow depth and the fact that the sun is constantly beating down on it, is not really bad.
Of course, no one would suggest the public go out and swim in the lake today.
The dock is out for those who want to fish in what has been described as a wide spot in the Redwood River, but the hope all who have been working on this project for so many years is to one day see the lake used as it was back in the early 20th Century as a destination for the public to enjoy.