In the February 28, issue of the Fulton County Democrat, supporters of keeping Canton Lake open and public for all were misrepresented by saying we had misunderstood the request for proposal to sell lake property, that we mistakenly thought it was the actual body of water (the lake) the city wanted to sell.
In the February 28, issue of the Fulton County Democrat, supporters of keeping Canton Lake open and public for all were misrepresented by saying we had misunderstood the request for proposal to sell lake property, that we mistakenly thought it was the actual body of water (the lake) the city wanted to sell. This was entirely untrue, as we have repeatedly stated reasons we oppose the sale with aldermen, at council meetings, at public hearings and with Letters to the Editor. The idea that the city wanted to sell the actual lake was never mentioned in our opposition.
We felt the need to set the record straight so we contacted the newspaper to ask for an opportunity to clarify this misconception, but some statements made to the contrary weren’t conveyed in the article. The Headline was even misleading. “Canton Lake residents don’t want to lose access to the Lake.” It didn’t make sense, since if a proposal to sell and develop the public side of the lake was approved, we would be the few who would still have access. We decided to clear up these misunderstandings with a Letter to the Editor.
We are a group of approximately 20 lake lot leaseholders who have been meeting regularly to discuss the future of Canton Lake, make recommendations, suggest alternative proposals to selling public land, and create a public awareness to the negative impact of overdeveloping lake property. All twenty of us are a unified voice in opposition of the proposal to sell the public property that everyone enjoys. Since our interview with the newspaper was scheduled with short notice it was decided that three of us would speak for the entire group.
Here are the points we made that didn’t make it into the article, along with a slight rebuttal on some that did.
•Fulton County is an economically depressed area and there aren’t many opportunities for low cost family entertainment other than Canton Lake. All citizens regardless of income are taxpayers and should be given a say in what happens with taxpayer owned recreational facilities.
•The article stated there were as many as 35 boats on the lake one day last summer. Omitted from the article, was that we also said the proposal called for 44 homes with docks, rental slips for 20 boats, and a plan for boat access for proposed lots on Dal Bar Road. At a minimum that’s an additional 76 watercraft on a lake that’s already unsafe for 35. How safe would 100 plus boats be?
•We stated that we personally don’t mind boating another day if the lake is too dangerous. But not so for those who can only boat on weekends and holidays, who trailer and launch their boats, have to find a place to park at the ramp or adjacent fields to enjoy a day of boating. The article implied we felt lake residents’ access was being taken away by the inconvenience of boating through the week. We never said lake residents were being denied access. It is our own personal preference to boat when the lake is calmer, and we have never polled our group as to their own preferences.
•It was reported that we said the campground would be fenced in with a chain link fence. The statement was: Since the city was not going to let the developers close the road, the developers countered with fencing in the campground and beach for safety reasons, and how aesthetically pleasing would a six foot chain link fence be to people driving around the lake, or camping at the campground?
•We stated that the Campground could bring in additional revenue to the city, if it had not been neglected and were better managed. We provided specific actions the city could take to achieve this.
•We provided newspaper articles relating to a 1979 proposal of a 25 lot subdivision that failed due to the environmental impact it would have on the lake.
•We provided a letter that was sent to city officials by the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club condemning the 44 lot subdivision for the same reasons.
•We provided a brainstorming idea list of alternative plans and suggestions that could be implemented, and that if implemented, could net the city additional revenue, while still retaining ownership of the land. We included ideas to curb vandalism, fix what has been neglected, suggested needed improvements, and utilizing volunteers and fundraising opportunities.
•We suggested the creation of a Special Revenue Fund where funds derived from the lake are earmarked for the lake, to be used as the Lake, Buildings, and Grounds Committee see fit.
•The bullet points that appeared in the newspaper from our brainstorming sessions should have not been individually highlighted, as each was dependent on outcome specific alternatives. One of which read we were seeking a seat on the city council. We are not seeking a position on the city council in any capacity, though we would be more than happy to give input to the Lake, Buildings and Grounds Committee regarding improvements and repairs at the lake.
We hope this letter clears up any misunderstandings as to why we feel the sale and possible overdevelopment of Canton Lake is not in the best interest of citizens, and why we feel a decision to sell what is now public land would be regretted for generations to come.
Ted and Dorri Baker