LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Boaters wanting to hit the water at Lufkin's Kurth Lake will have to wait a little longer.
The lake has been closed for the past few weeks as crews renovate the boat ramp, add two new piers, and repair the concrete dam. The city hopes to have the projects done and the lake reopened by January.
On Tuesday, crews were hard at work pouring concrete into the newly formed boat ramp.
"We needed to get the concrete poured before this rain moved in," said City Engineer Chuck Walker."No we are on track to where the rain could help us now."
The lake, which is located north of town off of Highway 59, had to first be drained to let the workers do their job. The city drained 8 feet of water off of the entire surface of the 800 acre lake.
"We used siphons to get the water out and into the Angelina River," Walker said. "We did about two inches of water a day. It took longer than I thought. I thought we would be ready in a couple of weeks, but it took over a month. When we are done, we will pump some of the water back in and let Mother Nature do her part with bringing rain."
The renovation of the ramp will allow easier access for boaters.
"Because we are lowering the ramp, it will allow you to get your boat in without having to back your truck into the water," Walker said. "It will be better for people with bigger boats. I think we can get more people to come out here with the renovation. We're cleaning up the parking lots, so we have additional parking in here, and then having the courtesy pier on the end to allow it to be easier for your fishermen to bring their boats and load and unload them. It will help a lot."
The projects have been on the agenda of the city for several years, but a failed grant process slowed down the actual work.
"We did not receive a grant," Walker said. "The city manager and city officials were good enough to find funds to do the projects at that point."
According to Walker, the lake projects will cost around $100,000. The money became available when several capital improvements came in under budget. The city is also using the funding from those under budget projects to build a new skate park at Kiwanis Park and security updates at city hall, including a closed-in parking area for police and an overhaul of the atrium at city hall.
For information on the lake, click here.