By Deb Patterson
Repairs and improvements to the Syracuse flood control structure and an update on projects by Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams, were two topics of importance brought before those attending the annual Syracuse Lake Association breakfast meeting Saturday morning.
Henry DeJulia, Syracuse town manager, presented the program with questions being taken from those present — including why the town did not address repairs to the structure following a 2009 study, and why isn’t the structure a top priority.
“We felt we had more time,” DeJulia stated repeatedly. “It rusted away quicker than we thought … .” DeJulia and Bill Musser, Syracuse Town Council, both stated the structure is now a top priority. “At the time we felt the deterioration was not as bad … something of importance to us,” he added. Musser stated the town has many projects, but plans are to go forward with improvements.
DeJulia provided some background on the structure, noting the sheet metal that is now deteriorating was installed in the 1960s. He also provided a handout from Lawson-Fisher Associates P.C., South Bend, on proposed improvements – critical and intermediate. The report indicated the project could be done in a single phase or two phases, the critical one in phase one to be completed in 2019, and phase two, the intermediate repairs, to be completed by 2023.
The report also included cost estimates — a single project at a cost of $575,000 or as phased projects: $300,000 for phase one and $320,000 for phase two.
DeJulia did note the town has attempted, through various state and federal agencies, to find funding and is continuing to look.
Tom Hoover, also of the town council, and Musser did state while it is unknown why funds to handle maintenance were never considered by previous town council members, it is now being looked into for the future.
Dr. Nate Bosch, director of Lilly Lakes and Streams at Grace College, also presented a brief program. His presentation included the mission for Syracuse Lake – making the lake clean, healthy, safe and beautiful, along with the center’s strategy. He addressed the various engaging education programs, applied research and collaborative projects.
During the applied research presentation, Bosch noted there is regular lake stream sampling and a technology upgrade to receive a continual update of what is coming in and going out of the lakes. He referred to new flow monitor sensors that will continuously monitor the flow, providing continuous information. “We had a grant cover one of these sensors, we are putting in at the Turkey Creek inflow,” Bosch said, adding Dave and Kathleen Johnston and a Lake Wawasee resident provided funding for two more.
One sensor will be placed near the outflow of Turkey Creek, below the flood control structure, and at Dillon Creek.
Bosch additionally touched on the research of blue green algae toxins, boating impact on the lake and zebra mussels. Results of the boating impact study will be available later this year in the form of recommendations.
Before the close of the meeting, it was noted earlier this summer an approximate 600 pound piece of cement fell off the railroad bridge into the channel. One boat was damaged. It was noted by Becky Fox, SLA president, and DeJulia contact is continually made with CSX however, “until something catastrophic happens, (repair) will not happen,” stated Fox.
It was noted by DeJulia he has sought the help of Sen. Blake Doriot to get repairs made.