Duncan council votes in favor of lake cleanup fund

Duncan council votes in favor of lake cleanup fund

DUNCAN, Okla._Duncan lake officials are optimistic that their campsites will eventually look much nicer, now that there is a specific fund set aside to improve them.

Last night, the Duncan City Council voted in favor of creating the fund, just a few weeks after approving an overall increase in camping fees.

The increased fees will help pay for the electricity at the campsites, as well as upgrading the grounds. But unfortunately, it will not happen anytime soon. The work is not expected to start until the city's next fiscal year in January and will probably not be finished until 2020.

The lakes currently have rough roads, broken boards and run-down buildings. Rusty Smith, who has been supervising Duncan's lakes since 1984, said not being able to afford the upkeep has been tough.

"It's discouraging when the whole city is having money problems. We are just going to have to get it back up and work it up and it's going to take four to five years," said Smith.

Major work including repaving roads, repairing restroom facilities and dock areas are in the plans.

When problems were first mentioned in 2010, a master plan was designed with costs estimating 2-million dollars. Public Works Director Ron Kroop said that has changed.

"In 2016 dollars, that two-million-dollars I'd say is now near or around 3-million-dollars in needs," said Kroop.

He anticipates the money will start coming from campers who choose Duncan's area lakes to camp. Between all four lakes there are 250 campsites.

"Ideally there will be more campers out here, ideally the raising of fee will not, again will not, cause people to go elsewhere," said Kroop.

Kroop said he wants to ensure the public that officials are working tirelessly to bring Duncan's lakes back to life.

"Check out all four lakes. Please understand that the enhancements and improvements will take money and take some time," said Kroop.

Smith said he looks forward to the day that all four lakes are back in the condition they should be.

"I just want  them back in shape so people can come out and picnic, day use, fish, whatever they desire to do, they can come out here or any of the lakes and do that," said Smith.

Smith said in the better camping months, an average of 50 campers a day are spread throughout the four lakes. He said once the lakes are in better shape, he expects to see more people camping out.