Facelift of Cottage Lake Park getting closer
by Jeff Switzer
COTTAGE LAKE--While the Cottage Lake Music in the Park series and swimming programs are a solid success, area residents are anxiously awaiting the facelift for the park on the lake, with construction slated for May or June of next year.
Plans for the 20-acre park, purchased with 1989 parks bond funds, include a new restroom facility, a non-motorized boat launch, a fishing boat dock, an "open lawn play meadow," two new picnic shelters, two new paved parking lots, and a pathway with a boardwalk across the stream.
The Cottage Lake Area Council has been an integral part of the process since the county bought the land. Bob McCormick, council president, takes his grandchildren to the park to play and swim, and said he is looking forward to getting the park completed.
"It's the only park kids can go to," he said. "It's really a hub for everybody. We go down there all the time for music in the park and to shoot hoops at the basketball court."
For many years, the park was known as Norm's Resort, then briefly American Adventure. Its wetland areas had been predominantly filled in and the lawns mowed right up to the shoreline.
"This project will return half of the shoreline and all of the creek corridor to a natural habitat," said Mike Rice, project manager.
Rice added that the creek corridor will have an average of 150-foot buffers on either side of the creek to maintain it as a viable fish habitat. The drainfields, which had been used for RVs, will be dug up and removed.
"We've had just incredible community input on this project," Rice said. "This is one of the best ones I've ever been involved with."
But area activist Maxine Keesling said she disagrees with the plans the county has submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers which propose creation of almost seven acres of wetlands and marsh "as buffer to a step-across stream" to mitigate filling in under three acres of wetlands.
"The pretty waterfront lawn with scattered tables and picnic dock will be replaced with no-use-no-view native vegetation designed to 'create waterfowl and songbird habitat ... (and) discourage and eliminate human and domesticated animal intrusion,'" Keesling said.
"When I look at these plans and see what they're doing, rebuilding what they have, I'd rather have what we have than what they're contemplating," she said. "Why on earth would they want to eliminate and discourage human and domesticated animals?"
Keesling said nearby Daniels Creek Park is all wetlands. "Leave that to nature and have Cottage Lake Park for what it's always been for: people use."