An essential wall of the pond was damaged in 2016 and repairs completed at the new year, but the pond needs rain to be refilled.
Someone, it seems, did not think the “no vehicles allowed in park” signs posted around Dr. Hal and Lynn Brewer Park applied to them or their boat. They did. And for good reason.
According to Assistant City Manager Bill McDaniel, the 7.5-acre pond is designed to collect and clean rainwater before discharging it into the westside canal. An essential part of that function is the silt wall throughout the pond. The silt wall, McDaniel said, helps slow down the flow of the rainwater as it circulates around the pond, settling unwanted nutrients, like fertilizer and yard runoff, before it’s released.
According to witnesses and frequent park visitors, someone — who has yet to be found or identified — put a Jon boat into the pond at the park sometime around the beginning of last summer. The boat, a small, flat-bottomed vehicle often used for fishing, damaged a portion of the silt wall.
“People may see us using boats to do repairs when the water level is high, but our people know where the infrastructure is,” McDaniel said. “This is the first time that wall has been damaged like that. It’s really not for boating and swimming and things like that.”
High water levels last summer prevented repairs from taking place sooner. Once water levels were low enough, McDaniel said, the pond was drained, damaged assessed, materials ordered and repairs completed.
The city also repaired the motors in the fountain at the park as part of the repair process. All together, the process took about four weeks and cost about $10,000 for the pond and fountain repairs combined, McDaniel said. Repairs were completed around the end of 2016 and early 2017.
Now, all the pond needs is water — specifically, rainwater.
“What we did, we had to do,” McDaniel said. “We had to fix that wall. All we’re waiting on is Mother Nature to do her thing and give us some rain water.”
McDaniel said other options have been explored to refill the pond. Drinking water isn’t viable because of the damage it can do to wildlife, and using ground water would require a special permit, which the city has begun the process to obtain.
Rainwater is necessary to fill the pond with the more than five million gallons of water it needs to get to a minimum level.
“We need primarily rain,” McDaniel said. “That’s the number one resource for putting water in that pond.”
Contact Daniel Figueroa IV at [email protected]