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The delayed Children’s Lake Dam repair project in Boiling Springs is back on track for a construction kickoff that’s expected to happen later this summer, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission representatives said this week.
At South Middleton Township supervisors’ meeting Thursday, Fish and Boat Commission executive director Tim Schaeffer said Gov. Tom Wolf’s office has released additional funding that allows the state Department of General Services to award a contract for the Children’s Lake rehabilitation project.
The project is expected to be completed in summer 2024.
“This is great news,” township solicitor G. Bryan Salzmann said Thursday. “Children’s Lake is a premiere attraction and landmark along the Appalachian Trail. It is a special place to generations of central Pennsylvania residents and this additional funding from the commonwealth will restore it for many, many decades.”
Salzmann said he was “proud to advocate and secure these additional monies,” and credited Sen. Mike Regan and Rep. Torren Ecker for “spearheading the request for additional funds and the legislature that provided the authorization that allowed Wolf to release additional monies for this important project.”
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“When it comes to working together on both a state and local level, we could not appreciate more the assistance of South Middleton Township, Sen. Regan, Rep. Ecker, and other important community partners to get us where we are, ready to start this project,” Schaeffer said. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the (South Middleton) Board of Supervisors and the Boiling Springs residents to see this beautiful enhancement to a local treasure come to fruition.”
Project construction was projected late last year to begin this spring following the first day of trout season. It was placed on hold after contractor bids for the work came in over budget. In November 2021, agency representatives said the total project was expected to cost between $2.4 million and $2.9 million.
In late 2017, South Middleton Township procured the $400,000 needed for the project’s design phase, including $150,000 from the township’s local design funds, $25,000 from F&M Trust and $12,500 each from Allen Distribution and Mowery. Along with $200,000 pledged by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, that was considered enough to cover engineering costs for the repairs.
In 2018, Wolf’s office released $2.4 million in promised funding for Children’s Lake, setting the project into motion. Under Thursday’s action, the Wolf administration has released additional funding for a combined total of $5.8 million dedicated to the project. Project construction has been delayed several times since 2018 due to permit delays and effects of the pandemic, all of which have contributed to time-related cost increases.
“It’s a long time coming,” township board president Bryan Gembusia said Thursday.
Paul Urbanik, the Fish and Boat Commission’s director of engineering, said Friday that contract awards “actually haven’t gone out yet,” but he expects it will happen in a few weeks and he will disclose details at that time.
Gembusia said Thursday that the project will involve reconstruction of the Children’s Lake Dam, a fishing pier addition “for those with physical challenges,” boat launch area improvements, and rehabilitating most of the existing lake wall “which has fallen into disrepair.”
“The board of supervisors knows how important Children’s Lake is to our township residents, as well as so many people in our region, and that’s why we have supported the tireless work of so many community members, our legislators, our friends at the Fish and Boat Commission and GMS Funding Solutions, our grant consultant, to help make this goal a reality,” Gembusia said.