Pigeon Lake dredging project moves forward
Voters approve 85-71
By Erik Buchinger
Pigeon Lake District residents voted to approve a $2 million dredging of the lake.
At the Pigeon Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District’s annual meeting in Clintonville on Oct. 16, 85 people voted yes and 71 voted no.
The tax impact will be $54 per $100,000 of property value over the next 20 years.
Pigeon Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District President Dennis Krueger said the reason to do the project now is to take advantage of the lake currently being drained.
“It’s empty now. Now is the time to do it,” Krueger said.
“Our mission is to protect and rehabilitate the natural resources of Pigeon Lake for the purpose of future generations with the purpose of quality recreation, fishing, boating and kayaking.”
Krueger said studies have shown sediment is increasing, which is leading to a loss of approximately three quarters of an inch of water per year.
“The problem is we have deep sediment, shallow water depth with low and dissolved oxygen with a lot of muck,” Krueger said.
Krueger said the problematic areas are the Matthews Bay, Red Barn and Fairway Lake/Golf Course Bay areas, which currently have levels of 3.5 to 5 feet of muck.
“If we don’t dredge, the high sediment areas are going to continue to fill up and will continue to increase,” Krueger said.
Residents voiced their concerns on the project, which included receiving the information in their mailboxes just hours before the meeting.
“There should be an economic impact survey done,” resident Al Prudom said. “We ought to know what the value of the pond is to the community and what it is to us as taxpayers. Is it really worth doing what we’re talking about doing? Or are we better off letting it go dry and have a lake? Does that lake really bring that much of an economic impact to the community?
“As far as knowing about it, I don’t buy the Clintonville Tribune. I didn’t know about it until somebody at the gas station told me about it this morning. I got the letter in the mail at 4 o’clock this afternoon when I got home from work.”
Krueger acknowledged the information should have been mailed out earlier but said it had been posted on the Pigeon Lake website, social media page and the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette newspaper.
Clintonville Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Wittman said there was a downtown study done, and much of the feedback she received was “isn’t it beautiful you have this lake that runs through Clintonville?”
“I understand everybody is upset about the late letters coming in the mail, but we have to make a decision tonight. We have to look at this as an opportunity to move forward,” Wittman said.
Wittman has lived in Clintonville for more than 10 years and said she would like to make the community better.
“One thing I kept hearing about this town is we don’t do anything,” Wittman said. “We just sit and stay the same way and complain about it. I don’t want to come from the town that complains and doesn’t do anything. I actually would like to make a difference. That’s the reason I took the position at the chamber because I want to do something good for this community.”
Clintonville Mayor Richard Beggs said he is for dredging the high-sediment areas.
“We don’t know the dollar amount of the economic value of that pond and river in Clintonville but I’m quite certain it’s significant,” Beggs said. “I do live on the pond and used to go canoeing, [but I] can’t anymore because it’s too full of sediment. We have to do it now because the pond is down now.”
The hope is to receive a permit in December, award the contracts after and start digging as soon as possible in January.
“We hope to refill the pond in April,” Beggs said. We don’t have time to sit around and talk about it. We don’t have time to get more studies. I think all the studies have been done.
“Our choice is pretty simple. Do nothing or do something. If you vote this down tonight, it’s do nothing and you’re stuck with what you see out there now and the next 50 years of mud on top of that. I urge you to vote for it.”