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Holden City Lake Passes DNR Inspection Amid Controversy

Although there had been some concerns and controversy about Holden’s city lake and the maintenance at the property this year, the lake did pass the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) inspection, which took place at the end of October.

Holden can be proud of the city’s water reservoir that was constructed in 1979, as it boasts 385 acres of water, located in the middle of a sprawling 600 acres of land.

With nine miles of shoreline, the lake is poised to provide quality water services to Holden for many years to come.

When the lake was built, there were nearly 130 acres of fields that were seeded with high quality grass.

That land has been mowed for hay over the years. There was a trail built around the lake for hikers and horseback riding.

The restrooms and boat ramps came later. The first boat ramp was donated by the F&C Bank.

The restrooms and north boat ramp were part of a Conservation Department project.

A local Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout Badge, was instrumental in the addition of the picnic shelter.

The shelter was donated and built from a joint effort of the Holden Saddle Club, Wayne Carter and O&M Enterprises.

It was always kept clean and in good repair. There are many other attributes of Holden’s City Lake and we’ve come a long way since the early days of the town’s water sources.

Holden’s water system is governed by the Board of Public Works (BPW), that has full and complete control, charge and management of the system.

The BPW consists of four members who serve four-year terms and are appointed by the Holden City Council.

The water system is operated by a privately owned, professional corporation that provides the BPW with the necessary staff, and a water superintendent, who are charged with the responsibility of operating and managing the city’s system.

Taking a look back at the early years of Holden’s water supply, we discovered that in the beginning, Holden’s water source consisted of two adjacent surface reservoirs, located approximately two miles east of town.

The original lake was constructed in 1886 and the second one in 1939. They had a combined water surface area of approximately 36 acres, with a drainage area of 2,600 acres and a full water capacity of 55 million gallons.

Later, a 300-foot deep well was drilled near these reservoirs to supplement water capacity during dry periods.

Today, Holden’s water source is a water supply reservoir located northwest of the city. There is a 4.14 sq. mile drainage area to this lake and a water capacity of 1,023,100,000 gallons.

The dam is 3,400-ft. long and 50-ft. tall. Until early 2017, the BPW had provided all the maintenance and management of the Holden City Lake facilities.

All repairs, maintenance, and any construction completed was provided using only revenues from lake permit sales, donations, and volunteers, in addition to some matching grants from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Since that time, the City of Holden has maintained certain areas of the lake.

The BPW has offered to take over care and maintenance of the lake in its entirety once again and the issue has been brought to council.

Mayor Liz Weeks was asked what her opinion was of the BPW taking back the maintenance of the lake and also council’s views on the issue. She said, “My opinion isn’t important since I’m an elected official.

I do know several citizens have expressed their concerns to me about relinquishing it to the BPW. “It was discussed a couple of months ago (by council) and was denied by council.” Weeks was asked about the City’s maintenance at the lake and she said, “The fields are leased out for hay.

The fire department goes out every year and burns the dam, as a training exercise. “The city lake has not been neglected in recent years. I have frequented the lake on and off over the last 20-plus years that I have lived here and it essentially has stayed the same with regard to vegetation and growth. “The amenities have improved some and with an active city lake committee working with the Department of Conservation, we are hopeful to add to those amenities.”

There were some concerns regarding the maintenance as the plush green fields are now inaccessible and grown up in scrub, such as locust trees and other obnoxious brush and vegetation.

The Image has learned that as late as July of 2021, the hay ground has been nutritionally rapped.

Bailed twice a year, with no fertilizer, what is left is poor brome grass, and very thin green grasses.

Because it is not a good idea to fertilize up to the shores, for water quality purposes, it will take years to rebuild the soil in these areas.

If steps are not taken to allow Mother Nature to replenish the soil, it will only get worse until there is nothing but dust, according to an expert.

There has also been concern as to the lack of maintenance of the public restrooms, with sewage holding tanks full and overflowing in late summer.

However, enough was done to remove the scrub and trees, etc., from the dam that it did pass the DNR inspection.

The DNR said the term of the permit will expire on November 21, 2023.  At that time the dam will be reinspected.

The Image checked with the BPW and the utility contractor and were told that the city’s water supply is not in any danger with regard to water quality.

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