2013-06-20 / Front Page

Meadow Grounds Lake Public Meeting This Monday

Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake to host kickoff event
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission employees work below Roaring Run Dam Friday morning to retrieve fish as part of their ongoing salvage effort. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission employees work below Roaring Run Dam Friday morning to retrieve fish as part of their ongoing salvage effort. NEWS EDITOR

What started off as a Facebook page for individuals to share their memories and photographs of Meadow Grounds Lake has blossomed into something much bigger. Under the name Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake, an energetic group of movers and shakers has spent the last two months exploring what it will take to “repair, restore and restock” the 204-acre lake in Ayr Township.

Local real estate agent and Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake (FMGL) member Anthony D’Anna of McConnellsburg told the “News” that following the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s (PFBC) announcement regarding the draining of Meadow Grounds Lake due to issues with the dam and spillway, FMGL has been on a fact-finding mission, connecting the dots to keep the Meadow Grounds’ issue on the forefront of local residents’ minds.

Saying they could either wring their hands or roll up their sleeves, fellow members Dayton Tweedy, Johnny Greathead, Ed Carbaugh and Scott Alexander said FMGL’s proactive nature will hopefully promote awareness and activism regarding the lake and, of course, in time raise money for this cause.

This Monday, June 24, at 6 p.m. FMGL will be sitting down with local, concerned residents in the community room of the Fulton County Library to outline their findings from recent weeks and plot out a future plan of attack. Among items already in the works by FMGL founders, with the help of McConnellsburg-based attorney Phil Harper, are the incorporation of the organization, establishing a 501(c)3 and setting up a board of directors, Greathead said.

In preparation for this kickoff meeting, several Friends members have been in contact with the Friends of Opposum Lake, who were responsible for raising additional funding that aided in the restoration of the Cumberland County lake to its former glory. The 59-acre lake was drained in 2008 after PFBC discovered cracks in the spillway. The lake reopened March 30, the opening day of trout season for southcentral Pennsylvania.

By “piggybacking” and using the Friends of Opposum Lake blueprints for fixing the solution and fundraising to their advantage, FMGL hopes to possibly shave some time from their timeline, D’Anna said.

Meadow Grounds is not the only lake in Pennsylvania that has structural issues. Colyer Lake in Centre County is faced with similar deficiencies. It was announced by PFBC on March 21, the same day as the Meadow Grounds public meeting here, that Colyer Lake would be completely drained and remain empty until it could be rehabilitated to meet current engineering and safety standards.

While they fully intend to “pester” people, including PFBC and elected officials, regarding Meadow Grounds, FMGL members said their message will always be one of a positive note. “We want to be the sticky wheel,” they said.

“We want them to know we’re not going away,” added D’Anna.

The word about the new Friends group has been spreading rapidly. From their Facebook page to their recently launched Web page, FMGL is striving to serve as the foremost authority on recent news and information related to Meadow Grounds.

In fact, at the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Promotion’s annual Strawberry Festival held Friday and Saturday, FMGL members received a warm welcome from the community at their stand on Lincoln Way West and got a head start on fundraising with their new Meadow Grounds T-shirts proclaiming, “Just Add Water.”

In addition, Alexander noted the Fulton County Conservation District will be partnering with FMGL to help raise awareness about the “plight of the lake, dam and spillway; convey accurate and up-to-date information to concerned citizens; and hasten the proper assessment, design and implementation of solutions.”

The Conservation District will also be providing assistance in the collection and distribution of public and private funds toward the restoration project, Alexander said. By the conclusion of July, and with the approval of the State Conservation Commission, the Conservation District plans to have an established Meadow Grounds Lake Fund through which tax-deductible contributions may be made. The funds would be disbursed through the approval of the Conservation District in conjunction with the FMGL board of directors.

Alexander referred to this group of volunteers as “energetic” and pointed out that saving Meadow Grounds Lake is a marathon and not a sprint. “We need to keep the momentum going,” he said.

Additional information regarding Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake can be found online at www.meadowgroundsfriends.org.

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