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Water To Be Lowered At Lake Lemon To Repair Trestle
Updated August 28, 2017 8:02 AM
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(BLOOMINGTON) - Officials will lower the water level at Lake Lemon after the Labor Day Holiday to repair the railroad trestle.

Around 500 residents were alerted to the repairs on August 9th by email from the Lake Lemon Conservancy District. They say that officials will be lowering the lake by 2 feet beginning September 5th. The lake will drop around 2 inches per day if there is no significant rain. It should take about 10 days for the water level to decrease by 2 feet.

The drawdown is needed for repairs to the Indiana Railroad Company trestle on the south side of Lake Lemon.

The railroad company has said the repairs would take about three weeks.

Railroad officials approached the conservancy district about the drawdown in March, but the district declined their request saying it would hinder events scheduled on the lake including the NCAA Rowing Regattas, so railroad officials contacted city of Bloomington officials. The City of Bloomington owns the lake. The conservancy district has a 50-year lease with the utilities department to operate and manage the lake.

The Shuffle Creek Trestle and railroad were completed in 1906, long before Lake Lemon existed. The Illinois Central Railroad, the predecessor company, entered into an agreement allowing the city to build the lake across the railroad right-of-way. This is the railroad's first request to lower the lake in more than 22 years.

City officials worked with conservation board officials compromised on a date of Sept. 5th., but when lake officials were contacted about the new date they wanted to delay it until late fall, so they again opened discussions with the railroad company without the city's knowledge.

City officials say the work can not be delayed any longer due to liability issues with the trestle and to avoid a catastrophic event saying the drawdown will begin on Sept. 5th.

Members of the conservation board say the lower levels would greatly affect the eastern portion of Lake Lemon, which has an average depth in many places of just 4 feet. With a drawdown of 2 feet, there would not be enough water for boats to navigate, and many lakefront residents would not be able to use their boat launches and boat ramps.

It would also cause erosion adding sediment into areas of the lake that have been dredged, effect recreational opportunities for boaters, anglers and swimmers and cause financial impact. Officials estimates they will lose $7,500 in boating and other fees and the marina boat and dock service will be impacted.

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