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Volunteers needed to clean out Bath Lake

MEDICINE PARK, Okla._Businesses in Medicine Park are taking a hit this summer due to a popular swimming hole being closed because of all the flooding.

Volunteers have been working to get Bath Lake safe and open again for swimmers by the Fourth of July. Flooding swept concrete, rocks and other sharp debris to the swimming area, and also damaged walls.

Bath Lake in Medicine Park is closed and empty, an unusual sight during the summer. It's being cleaned from last month's floods, but now everyone's wondering when it'll be back open.

"My target is July 4. So, we would need to start filling it somewhere around July 1," said Charley Wright, a man who has taken it upon himself to get Bath Lake back open and ready for swimmers.

"It not being here hurts the whole town, but I think probably with my business being where it is it kind of hurts the most," said Wright.

Wright, or better known as Santa, owns Santa's Snack Shop. It's on the banks of Medicine Creek and steps away from Bath Lake.

"One of my main stays is floaties, and I don't think I sold any floaties this year. We are doing maybe a fourth of what we would do on a weekend," explained Wright.

The past couple weeks, Wright has organized volunteers to come out on Saturdays to clean out the now drained bath lake area. The process includes removing large rocks that were swept into the swimming area and raking up sharp debris brought in by the rushing water.

"We just keep picking it up and picking it up. The people that have been working so far, a tremendous amount of work has been done from the few volunteers we've been getting, and there's probably no way we'll ever get all the glass out. So, we are just trying to get most that we can out," said Wright.

The biggest issue is a damaged wall that can fall by being pushed over. Wright plans on getting it fixed to inch closer to getting at least some of Bath Lake open by July 4. Then, hopefully all of Medicine Park's businesses can reap the benefits having tourists back at Bath Lake.

"Competing with other areas that have the big events, the only thing that we have, we have the swimming hole here, which nobody else can compete with. So, it's bringing a lot of people in. I am sure if we don't get it running it's going to have a disasterly effect on business," said Wright.

Volunteers are needed once again this Saturday. All you have to do is meet at Bath Lake across from the Old Plantation at 9:00 a.m. Wright says tools are needed as well, specifically rakes and wheelbarrows.

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