Window on the West
by Mary Rupert
Some years ago we did stories about the algae covering Welborn Lake at 48th and Leavenworth Road, and the situation doesn’t seem to have changed too much since then.
While some areas of the private lake look like they are being taken care of, such as the flowers under the sign and areas that are trimmed, so much green algae now covers the lake that it would be hard to imagine anyone being able to do anything there.
At one time in its history, the lake was a resort spot for vacationers close to an interurban line stop. Visitors enjoyed fishing and swimming there. Now it would be impossible to see any fish if there were some in the lake.
Lou Braswell, executive director of the Leavenworth Road Association, said this week that she is trying to find a way to clean up the lake. Funding seems to be the snag.
“We’ve been working at it for the last seven years, just trying to come up with some kind of plan,” she said.
She has some plans, but financing is needed, she added. One plan would be to have the lake cleaned out, then install some solar-powered fountains there to aid the movement of water, Braswell said.
“It’s privately owned, where the hangup comes in,” she said. A neighborhood association used to own the lake, but it more or less dissolved and the people who live in the area are the owners of the lake, she added. There is a new association of homeowners at Welborn Lake that would like to get the Unified Government involved in helping to clean up the lake.
After the lake is cleaned up, people at the lake want to put rock on the banks, Braswell said, and someone has agreed to haul the rocks to the lake.
While Braswell said it is true that certain kinds of carp eat algae, that has been tried at Welborn Lake and it didn’t work. There is so much algae there that it has taken the oxygen out of the water so fish can’t survive there, she said. Blue-green algae is a very serious health risk for humans and animals.
Those interested in making Welborn Lake look better, including the Leavenworth Road Association, currently are trying to help get donations toward the cleanup, she said.
Edwin Birch, Unified Government spokesman, said what makes giving funds to the cleanup difficult is that the UG does not own Welborn Lake, and it is owned by residents who live there.
There have been conversations with the UG and residents on how much it would cost to seal the lake or clean it, he said. There will be more discussions later, but nothing has been decided yet, he added. He was unsure if anything could be done with public funds because it was private property.
Braswell said she understands how it might be difficult for the UG to provide any kind of funding, since it is private property.
“But we are going after some money at different places,” she said, “hoping once we get started, people will see the effort is there. We do have people willing to contribute materials and labor, it’s just getting the rest of it in line, after it’s cleaned up.”
Update: A conservationist has contacted the Leavenworth Road Association today and offered his services for free to clean up the pond, with the LRA providing about $150 for the chemicals needed, Braswell said. The conservationist, whose father lives in Wyandotte County, saw a story about it on Fox4 News and volunteered to help.
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