By Jim Young
Some call it “the best kept secret in Cumberland County,” but the limited recreational activities currently available at Meadow Park Lake, also known as City Lake, may get expanded based on a recent work session between the city council and the Lake Commission.
The Crossville City Council held a work session with members of the Lake Commission last Thursday afternoon that started with a cruise around the lake built in the late 1930s as Crossville and Cumberland County's first water reservoir. Most of the lake shore line is only accessible by boat and the city owns the land surrounding the lake to limit development.
The lake, completed in 1938, is 269 acres and the city owns some 2200 acres surrounding the lake. Currently amenities at the lake include a boat ramp, fishing, rental boat slips and camping. The council and the lake commission met to discuss the possibility of working to develop some hiking trails, additional picnic areas and expanding the number of camping sites with an eye to possibly increasing revenue from the scenic area.
Marlene Potter, lake manager, took members of the council and lake commission out in the city's pontoon boat named Lady Duer, named for the late State Representative Shirley Duer and donated by former city council member Carl Duer. The lake is much larger than it appears from the dock and is very popular with boaters, canoeists and fishermen.
Following the tour, the group met in a picnic shelter and got down to business. Several ideas were passed around but funding these ideas is one of the problems. In order to get funding from grants and other sources, city clerk Sally Oglesby explained that a professionally prepared master plan would be required. She said the state has funds for the grants and they want to see community involvement in the planning process including public input meetings during the process.
Councilman Pete Souza suggested that a possibility might be for engineering students at Tennessee Technological University to work on a master plan as a project that could be overseen by a professor. That idea was well received and city clerk Sally Oglesby said she would investigate the possibility.
There was discussion of balancing the activities with protecting the forest and environment. “Little has changed over the last 30 years,” said George Marlow who spent time on the lake with his father and until a few years ago kept a boat slip at the lake. “Except the trees are bigger,” responded Lake Commission member Charles Loveday.
Lake manager Marlene Potter said that many new people move into the area and find out about the lake online. She said they come to visit and are looking for activities like walking and hiking trails and she said the visitors are frustrated when the staff can't offer those activities.
One issue that came out of the meeting was the need for some maintenance work on the office/store building at the lake. Some roof repair is required and is expected to be taken care of as soon as possible.
Incoming city manager David Rutherford also attended the meeting.