Canyon Lake Park is the is the post card photo of Rapid City's system of parks, bike paths and golf courses through the greenway. On most days, especially during the summer, the park is filled with people enjoying its beautiful setting.
The park has been extensively renovated in recent years, using $2.2 million in Vision Funds to build the island and bridge and adding more picnic and viewing areas.
However, the dam that holds the water in Canyon Lake is about 40 years old and in need of reconstruction. Repairs to stop leaks from the lake are temporary fixes, and the City Council has approved about $3.5 million in Vision Funds to reconstruct Canyon Lake dam to stop the seepage and prevent a failure of the dam itself.
Last year, the city rejected bids for the reconstruction project when they came in as high as $4.2 million.
Public Works Director Terry Wolterstorff told the city council that the dam is in urgent need of reconstruction or it could leak out all the water. A failure similar to what happened in the 1972 flood is not an immediate concern, he said.
The city council's Public Works Committee voted last week to open bids for the dam reconstruction project again, and members advocated finding other funding sources if the $3.5 million in Vision Funds isn't enough.
After spending millions of dollars to renovate Canyon Lake Park and make it the signature park in Rapid City's park system, it would be a shame to see the lake drained because of a leaking dam. We agree with the Public Works Committee that the dam reconstruction project needs to go forward as soon as possible.