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Cleaning Cedar Lake

Updated: Thursday, July 24 2014, 09:57 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - The Cedar Lake will soon be a dead lake, if it doesn't get cleaned up, according to a group of concerned Cedar Rapids residents the Friends of Cedar Lake.

The Friends of Cedar Lake want to formally ask the city of Cedar Rapids to extend the greenway project -- and the deal with local architecture firm Confluence -- to include the area around the lake and increase recreation options there.

The group also wants the city and the lake's owners, Alliant Energy, to work together on decreasing pollution in the area.

"It has been a blessing to talk to so many people who love the lake, and have a long time. You know, fished there with their grandfather, or we take our kids biking there every weekend," said Friends of Cedar Lake outreach chair Felicia Wyrick.

It is that same level of investment that the Friends of Cedar Lake are asking Alliant Energy and Cedar Rapids to make. The lake has a big build up of sediment in it, Wyrick said, which could be potentially toxic, but remains untested. That sediment also takes up space, and can exacerbate flooding.

"Those problems will just continue to increase," Wyrick said.

So the group wants to do a hydrology study, and they want to start applying for federal and state grants to add more recreation options and decrease pollution, but they have to wait. They need permission from Alliant Energy to either act as a funnel for government funds into city coffers, or to sell the lake back to Cedar Rapids altogether.

That is still a point of indecision for Alliant, representatives of which continue to attend Friends of Cedar Lake meetings and are active in discussions with Cedar Rapids.

"I think we continue to work with the city to improve the amenities the best we can, given the circumstances, and will continue to do so as these discussions continue," said Alliant spokesperson Ryan Stensland.

Without action, however, the lake will become a mess in the middle of town, Wyrick said.

"Is that really what we want in the heart of our city? Is that really what we want 80,000 commuters on 380 to have as the first impression of our community? I don't think we do," she said.

This fall, Alliant is set to demolish the power plant it once operated on the land by the lake.

The Friends of Cedar Lake say, they are hoping that once those priorities get straightened out, all entities can move forward together. Cleaning Cedar Lake

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