2014-02-27 / Front Page

FOMGL To Spearhead $100,000 Fundraiser

Eich, Topper head Meadow Grounds Lake discussion
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

NEWS EDITOR

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will be pooling resources from several “pots of money” to help resurrect Meadow Grounds Lake in the coming years, including a proposed local contribution from the grass-roots group, Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake.

In sitting down with area constituents and the FOMGL Board of Directors Monday night, Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. said that Gov. Tom Corbett wants to be assured that fixing Roaring Run Dam at the lake is a priority for residents of Fulton County and beyond. Referring to it as more of a “regional project,” the senator said a local contribution of $100,000 would go a “long way” in convincing the governor.

Under questioning by area sportsman Ken Shreve, who was among the two dozen on hand for FOMGL’s monthly public meeting, Eichelberger stated the contribution number is in direct correlation with what other Friends groups are raising statewide to fix their own dam issues.

Eichelberger said in addition to the $100,000 from FOMGL, the Fish and Boat Commission supplied the $63,322 in funding for the geotechnical study completed in mid-February. The findings of the study completed by URS Corp. are slated to be released in the coming weeks.

PFBC will also be paying for the fees associated with the design phase of the project, said the senator, who went on to reference a “new pot of money” that has been earmarked for the repair of high-hazard dams such as Roaring Run. The Act 89 transportation bill will result in PFBC receiving an estimated additional $3.8 million during the 2013-14 fiscal year as well as $4.5 million in 2014-15, $5.1 million in 2015-16 and $6.4 million in 2017-18 and thereafter. Those funds are in addition to the $1.9 million the commission currently receives.

The Act 89 caveat, however, stipulates that during the first five years, the additional revenue may only be used to repair high-hazard dams. In addition to Roaring Run Dam at Meadow Grounds Lake, eight other high-hazard dams are currently in existence across the state. Those high-hazard dams are in various phases of design and repair.

Eichelberger emphasized that the Act 89 money is “not enough” to cover all of the dams needing repair in the state, but a portion of that should be for Meadow Grounds.

He added that Meadow Grounds will be be placed on the capital budget funding list for consideration to the tune of $4.48 million.

Newly-elected state Rep. Jesse Topper referred to the proposed $100,000 contribution from FOMGL as a “down payment.” He said the project “has the attention” of key players and therefore the “train was on the track so to speak.”

FOMGL President Anthony D’Anna said even though $100,000 “seems staggering,” it is “manageable” and a “drop in the bucket” in comparison to the overall money needed to repair the dam. He suggested tackling the amount in “small bites” or three parts.

Maintaining a positive outlook throughout the meeting, D’Anna said the fundraising will be tackled as part of the group’s 12- to 16- month action plan. He thought the group would be close to achieving its goal by the end of one year.

While the overall repair and refilling process is expected to take three to four years to complete, FOMGL said they intend to serve as lake stewards for many years to come in hopes they never have to encounter this situation again.

Topper pointed out the opportunity exists to resurrect Meadow Grounds Lake into something bigger and better than ever. The possibility of earmarking the $100,000 FOMGL allotment toward special projects like boat launches or walking paths would have to worked out with not only PFBC but the Pennsylvania Game Commission, which owns the lake. The agencies are currently renegotiating the terms of the lake’s lease.

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