Gardner Lake residents filled the Senior Citizens center at the Gardner Lake Association meeting on April 1. The residents expected to hear an update on when the lake dredging and spillway repair project would begin but instead found out state funding had been denied, and the project is not going to happen in 2017. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz

Gardner Lake residents filled the Senior Center for the April 1 meeting of the Gardner Lake Association (GLA). The attendees came expecting an update and new details about the dredging and spillway repair project but instead learned that the project was not going to happen at all – at least not in 2017.
Michael Kramer, public works director, was scheduled to give the update, but he was ill and could not attend. Kramer sent an email update to Larry Desmarteau, GLA president, to read to the residents.
The email said that Gardner’s grant application is no longer being considered by KDA (Division of Conservation, Kansas Department of Agriculture). State funding has been denied because the lake is “not a source for municipal water use.”
The dredging and spillway project was approved by city council at their January 17 meeting, which was attended by many lake residents.
At that meeting, Kramer reported that the KDA Division of Conservation (DOC) had responded to a June 2016 city request for funding.
Kramer said the DOC would grant $280,000 for the project with the condition that the city contribute matching funds. Council approved debt financing of $300,000 for the matching funds. The DOC funds would be used for dredging, and the city funds would go to spillway repairs.
At some point since then, the DOC has denied the grant application, citing the lake is not the city’s water source.
One resident at the meeting mentioned that the lake does supply water for the golf course, which is city owned property, and wondered if that qualifies it as a municipal water source.
Desmarteau said that was a good point, and he would discuss it with Kramer.
Kramer has been saying he is looking into other funding sources.
In the email, he asks if lake residents would be open to sharing in the cost of dredging. If so, he says the city might provide some matching funds.
The email states : “Several funding mechanisms exist, but would take cooperation between the lake residents, the city, and the county.  Funds could be raised through a benefit district and/or dock fees, donations. Any funding will take significant effort and time.”
Dredging would improve water quality, increase the water storage volume of the lake and help control weed/algae growth, which is almost uncontrollable now.
Gardner Lake was built in 1937. The Gardner Lake Dam classification was changed from significant hazard (Class B) to high hazard (Class C) in 2013. An inspection in 2015 identified failures along the length of the spillway and concluded the spillway needs to be replaced to ensure the integrity of the dam.
Kramer’s email offers hope that the spillway repair will still happen, in 2018. It says the spillway repair “is currently scheduled for 2018 City of Gardner Capital Improvements Program.”
The city owns the actual lake at Gardner Lake, but the majority of the residences around the lake are in unincorporated area.
The Gardner Lake Association is a private organization consisting of an elected board who represent the interests of residents. GLA conducts bi-monthly board meetings and two yearly meetings open to all residents of Gardner Lake.