Swimming will be late at park this summer
By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on April 29, 2005 1:47 PM
The lake swimming area at Cliffs of the Neuse State Park will not open on Memorial Day weekend as normally scheduled, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation.
The 11-acre manmade lake is drained annually for routine maintenance, but this year, the drawdown was extended to allow access for an anticipated dam rehabilitation project. The lake level has not sufficiently recovered to ensure the safety of swimmers, park officials said. A limited swimming schedule might be established later in the summer, depending on water levels and the availability of lifeguards.
"This winter, we delayed the lake refill process in hopes of completing the much-needed repairs, and there simply hasn't been sufficient time for the lake level to recover," Park Superintendent Dan Smith said.
"Although the state bid the repair project in September 2004, the apparent low bidder was eventually disqualified. The state has since negotiated with the next lowest bidder, and construction is to begin soon after Sept. 5.
"We're going to do all we can to re-open the lake later this summer, at least on certain days of the week. What we really need is abundant rainfall to raise the lake to the minimum operating level."
The lake rehabilitation project will include installation of a new drainage system at the base of the lake's dam as well as safety improvements at the boathouse, diving platform and pedestrian approach areas. Federal safety rules require that the lake be drained while the repairs are being made.
The park's concession area will operate on a limited schedule through Labor Day. Normally, the concession area and swimming lake are open from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day, and lifeguards are provided.
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