Crews finishing up repairs, lakes reopen

Posted at 9:51 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 09:32:13-05

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has been working for months to clean up and fix the damage at area lake parks after last year's flooding. 

For the first time in five years, lake levels in Bell County are right where they should be.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Arty Johnson said that's not always the case. 

"We know we expect it's going to flood. Because a lot of these parks, as you see this one, a beautiful park, West Cliff, is built pretty much very low close to the lake," Johnson said. 

Levels in the lakes across the area fluctuate to prevent flooding downstream. They won't release water from the lakes until they know the levels of the rivers they feed are low enough.

Last year, flooding damaged West Cliff's shelter areas.

This week, crews are installing new metal picnic areas.

The US Army Corps of Engineers hopes that using metal benches instead of wood will reduce the amount of damage if it were to flood again.

The flooding also destroyed Temple Lake Park's restrooms and now they have to be replaced.

Sparta Valley is also closed because of road damages. 

Johnson, who has been a park ranger for 10 years, said this isn't the worst damage he's seen but he knows things need to be fixed.

"A flood's a flood. This one was pretty good and we're still having to do all these repairs and get everything opened," said Johnson. 

Most of the parks in Bell County are open, with the exception of Temple Lake Park, West Cliff and Sparta Valley. Temple Lake and West Cliff should be opened on April 1st. 

For a list of what parks are open or closed in our area, click here.

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