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OUR VIEW: Was lake decision approved due to lack of choices?

Progress has finally been made to improve our lake. The Mitchell City Council on Monday night approved a $73,725 study to be used to restore Lake Mitchell and reduce its algae problems. The 6-2 vote came more than one year after discussions to so...

Progress has finally been made to improve our lake.

The Mitchell City Council on Monday night approved a $73,725 study to be used to restore Lake Mitchell and reduce its algae problems.

The 6-2 vote came more than one year after discussions to solve the lake's woes heated up by the volunteer Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee, which recommended the project to the council.

Omaha-based Fyra Engineering will now look to define the lake's problems, develop a nutrient mass balance, determine pollutant loads, develop a lake response model and initiate community-based planning.

Certainly, it's exciting to see some action, but we wonder if this phase was passed because there really wasn't another viable option on the table. Perhaps the Lake Mitchell Advisory Committee and some members of the Mitchell City Council felt if progress was going to be made now, the Fyra plan had to move forward.

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We hope these public officials had what's best for Mitchell in mind, rather than just approving the study because they hadn't found a better alternative. Clearly, there aren't many companies out there that will study, plan and restore a lake.

Initially, some lake committee members weren't impressed with Fyra after seeing the company's work first-hand on a project it completed at the Nebraska-Iowa border near Omaha.

But after waiting and seeking alternative methods to fix Lake Mitchell, the lake committee later agreed Fyra's first phase was the best play.

We realize the lake committee was in a no-win situation in trying to solve Lake's Mitchell's problems. We commend those volunteers and Mayor Jerry Toomey for spending their time and effort on a difficult subject, but, to be fair, their slow-and-steady approach probably took too long.

We wonder what the next step would be had the Mitchell City Council killed the lake committee's recommendation Monday night.

Would we be waiting around another year, or more, for the next viable option?

What's refreshing is the council approved funding for just one phase of Fyra's plan. Phase two is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $300,000 and there's no set cost for the third and final phase to put plans into action.

So, while the lake committee and the council reflect on the recently approved Fyra work, there's still a chance other routes could be explored if those public officials are unhappy with the results.

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That's definitely positive and makes us significantly more comfortable with the council's decision.

Related Topics: LAKE MITCHELL
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