Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cedar Lake dredging fund earns approval

A state oversight panel has given final approval for $2 million to help dredge Cedar Lake.

The funds were included in the state budget legislators approved last year, but the project needed a final nod from the State Budget Committee. The five-member panel -- four lawmakers and the governor's budget director -- unanimously approved the project Monday.

Cedar Lake Town Manager Joan Boyer told the committee the $2 million would be used to acquire land to deposit the materials scraped from the bottom of the lake. Once the project is complete, the land will be capped and converted to a large park.

"Cedar Lake does not have a large park," Boyer said. "We just have little pocket parks."

The town is expected to contribute $2.5 million to the dredging project. Combined with the state money, those funds are expected to leverage $8.5 million in federal dollars.

State Budget Committee documents describe the project as an aquatic ecosystem restoration that will "reduce pollutants entering Cedar Creek and downstream communities and support economic growth in Northwest Indiana."