OUR VIEW: Facts are in, now vote on Fyra plan
Sections of Lake Mitchell's shoreline had a glowing green goo Wednesday, the same day a public forum was held to discuss restoration of the lake. The front-page photo in Thursday's Daily Republic showed, indeed, there is a problem that needs to b...
Sections of Lake Mitchell's shoreline had a glowing green goo Wednesday, the same day a public forum was held to discuss restoration of the lake.
The front-page photo in Thursday's Daily Republic showed, indeed, there is a problem that needs to be fixed. Anyone who says the lake is just fine is clearly unreasonable.
No lake should be as green as Lake Mitchell. And even worse than the unsettling color, the dominant type of algae currently in the lake - aphanizomenon - is a known health concern for humans and has killed dogs in the United States, according to a lake restoration expert who visited Mitchell on Wednesday.
What we learned at the forum is no one will be able to determine the total cost for the lake to overcome its algae problems at this point. We know, however, the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee supports the water resource specialists at Omaha-based Fyra Engineering to develop a preliminary plan, costing $73,725, to attack the issues.
We also know experts say the entire restoration process will cost "millions" and, if Fyra is hired to complete the entire project, the city will be on the hook for 40 to 50 percent of the cost.
In the coming weeks, the Mitchell City Council will likely vote on whether to approve the preliminary Fyra plan. And we believe they need to make their decision with long-term planning in mind.
If council members are not willing to spend, at the very least, $1 million on lake restoration, they shouldn't move forward with the preliminary plan. We say that because the project is going to cost "millions" and the city needs to be prepared to pay about half of that cost. That sets an absolute baseline of roughly $1 million.
Our hope is council members who are willing to move forward with Fyra's preliminary plan are all-in on the lake, meaning they'll support Fyra throughout the process.
And to be clear, we're not endorsing the Fyra plan, nor do we think it's a bad idea. That decision is for the council, which we hope by now has gathered enough information after multiple discussions, the lake committee's recommendation and a public forum.
After a year's worth of discussion and nearly all the information we could possibly request from Fyra, other than an estimated total project cost, the City Council needs to be bold and take action. Whether that action is to kill the Fyra plan or to move ahead with it means progress for the lake.