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Our view: Lake, infrastructure should top '18 priorities

An aerial photo of Lake Mitchell from 2009. (Republic file photo)

It's time to prioritize Mitchell's needs.

Lake Mitchell and many aspects of our city's infrastructure are in a state of despair. This year is the time to make significant progress in both areas.

As January winds down and City Council members continue considering what they hope to accomplish in 2018, it's our great hope we get some resolve this year on how to improve algae-filled Lake Mitchell. We also hope to hear a plan to significantly improve the city's infrastructure, such as the major pothole-filled thoroughfares and the aging water and sewer system.

In recent years, city leaders chose to bring new features to Mitchell — with the addition of the second sheet of ice at the Mitchell Activities Center, an indoor pool that was eventually approved through a city-wide vote and an upgraded Corn Palace with new, LED, light-up domes.

And we're proud of those additions. Each of those projects have made the city a more attractive community for tourists, visitors or people considering calling Mitchell their home.

We've also seen the addition of the Sixth Avenue plaza, veterans park and the beginning phase of a Burr Street renovation. Again, we're happy to see all those areas of improvement, but those projects pushed the lake and infrastructure improvements to the back burner.

We waited months for results of a costly study on the lake to give us options on how to fix Lake Mitchell, only to have a good portion of the City Council question the findings. We don't know exactly how or why, but the lake actually grew greener in 2017 than the previous year.

It's time, we believe, for the council to step forward and decide on a concrete plan. Is one of the study's options the right route? Is draining the lake a better route? Mitchell leaders should realize this year that having a clean, desirable lake is a need for the city — and that it's time to pick a solution.

In the same vein, we're hopeful City Council members focus on improvements to our largest roads and fixing water mains as infrastructure needs grow. We're glad to see Sanborn Boulevard get its much-needed attention. But following multiple breaks this week in a water main in eastern Mitchell, we hope council members will push to upgrade what seems to be deteriorating pipes. Who knows where the next major water main problem will occur?

So as our elected leaders ponder what's best for our city, we hope 2018 brings improvements to the not-so-glamorous projects.

Sure, plazas, parks and pools help make us a thriving city. But a clean lake and running water are absolutely necessities.