City Park is a regional attraction that welcomes thousands of visitors every year. It has even gained national attention and was recently rated the most beautiful municipal park in the country by the travel website, escapehere.com. There are three lakes within the park, the most recognizable being the Lower Lake as it sits along Virginia Avenue in front of the Museum of Fine Arts. It was constructed 100 years ago and spans a footprint of seven acres.
Over the course of the last century, it is estimated 32,000 cubic yards of sediment have accumulated at the bottom of the lake as a result of leaves, trash, waterfowl and fish waste, and slight erosion of the lake banks. Through a study of the lake floor, it was determined the average depth is 2.4 feet; the shallowest area is 1.5 feet and the deepest part of the lake is 3.8 feet.These shallow levels have resulted in general deterioration of the water quality and have left the fountain inoperable. Through the dredging process, about 18,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed to increase the lake's depth to approximately five feet, enhancing the lake's appearance, providing a healthier habitat for wildlife and waterfowl at the park, and creating opportunities for additional activities on the lake.
The City of Hagerstown has opted to dredge the lake through a mechanical process, whereby an excavator will scoop the silt from the bottom of the lake and transfer the material to a barge to be hauled away. This method is the most cost-effective option that minimizes impacts to the community and the park's natural resources as the lake will not need to be drained. The dredging process is being completed over the winter season to further minimize any impacts on park visitors and wildlife.
The City is pleased to work in partnership with the Washington County Solid Waste Department to have the silt removed to the Washington County Landfill where it will be used as daily cover. The trucks hauling the sediment will be sealed so material will not leak on the roads. The 18,000 cubic yards of removed sediment equate to approximately 1,600 truckloads.