It's one small step for lake dredging, one giant leap for local lake restoration efforts.
The Storm Lake City Council officially approved the purchase of 160 acres of farmland as a potential spoil site for expanded dredging efforts. The city is paying $375,000 for the land.
"The city council for some time has been a partner with the Lake Preservation Association," said City Administrator John Call.
Throughout discussions the "essential element" has been acquiring additional land for a spoil site, Call said.
Preliminary engineering reports indicate the land located east of the municipal golf course would be ideal. However, Call noted that if further dredging is to be done the city will have to go through the lengthy DNR permitting process, which includes more engineering studies and environmental impact assessments.
The money for the purchase comes from the sales tax reserve fund, which has a balance of $780,000.
Council members agreed it is an exciting possibility. None of the council members voted against the land purchase.
"I think it's exciting to do something that helps the lake," said council member Denny Vaudt. "(The lake) is a financial benefit to the community and our quality of life."
Council member Julie Egland said the city is helping the project in one of the more difficult areas - finding a dredge spoil site. "It's exciting we did find one that is going to work out for us."
Council member Jim Treat said he has only heard positive comments about the potential use of the land as a spoil site.
Until a decision is made on the land, all 160 acres will be rented as farm ground. Even if the land is never used for a spoil site or after it is no longer needed as one, Mayor Jon Kruse said the land will add to the city.
"There's definitely potential out there," he said. "I think it's a good addition to the city."
The mayor announced the land deal at a joint city-county meeting last week at the Storm Lake City Hall. The news created a lot of excitement for the LPA as well as city and county officials who have been discussing possible contributions.