Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scenic View to Return at Man-Made Lake

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scenic View to Return at Man-Made Lake

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

Dear Call Box: Why are they draining a lake on University Boulevard, just north of its intersection with Atlantic Boulevard? It has lots of ducks and is a beautiful lake that's been there for a long time.

M.C.

Dear Call Box: I was driving along University Boulevard North when I noticed they were dredging a lake near the new bridge that's being built from Arlington to the Southside. What can you tell me about it?

G.S.

Dear M.C. and G.S.: Saratoga Lake is a man-made lake built by the developer of the surrounding Saratoga Point subdivision in the 1950s. It is maintained by the city within Saratoga Park.

The dredging project began in December and is expected to be complete in mid-March, said Debbie Delgado, a city spokeswoman. About 11,000 cubic yards of the lake bed is being dredged at a contract amount of $184,530, Delgado said.

The park consists of a lake with an island in the middle and an adjacent lot. The backyards of homeowners ring the lake on three sides. Developers of the subdivision dedicated the park to Duval County in 1951 and donated an additional lot in 1985, according to the city's parks website. A public area adjacent to University Boulevard contains a picnic table and bench for visitors to enjoy the view of the lake, the website said.

In recent years, that view has not been a scenic one, said City Councilman Bill Bishop, who represents the area. Over the years, the island wasn't mowed, was taken over by trees and foliage and took on a wilderness look, Bishop said. In addition, the lake had become stagnant and filled with leaves and silt. In some parts, the water level was 3 feet or less, he said.

"It had gotten to be an algae-filled, mosquito-ridden mess that required constant chemical spraying to control weeds, bugs, and algae," Bishop said.

An area resident lobbied for the lake to be dredged, he said, with others urging that it be done as well. For years, money was not available to restore it to its former status, so the project was put off again and again, Bishop said.

When money appropriated for park maintenance in all the council districts became available, he said, the dredging was able to proceed. …

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