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Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources say gates will be installed at Lake Manawa State Park between now and next spring, to limit access to the park. The Daily NonPareil says the change, announced Wednesday, came after residents showed concern about “security issues” and “roads to nowhere.” About 20 people attended a Wednesday meeting at the Council Bluffs Fish and Game Club to discuss an October forum about two projects at the lake that, when combined, will cost more than $10 million.
Todd Coffelt, Iowa DNR Bureau Chief for the state parks, says the gates will restrict access to the park before 4 a.m. and after 10:30 p.m. Bike trails and 24-hour overnight fishing will not be restricted.
Last month, residents were asked to gather feedback from their neighbors and bring it to Wednesday’s meeting. Residents were mostly concerned with public safety and a dredging project that would remove 5 million cubic yards of sand from the lake to promote water clarity and a healthier wildlife environment. Iowa DNR officials stressed the need for residents to address 51 proposed full-hookup campsites that would be created under the proposed plan.
Coffelt says the department has been working on renovating the park’s campsites for about 14 years, but residents were more worried about overall safety and future park usage. Many who attended the meeting echoed comments about keeping troublemakers out of the park and the effects of the dredging project slated to begin by summer 2015.
Coffelt said residents need to stay focused and agree on camping renovations before officials can move forward with the projects. The department has $400,000 set aside for the campsites, but the remaining funds must be raised by community groups.