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Repair work will force partial closing of Bonita walkway

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
June 11, 2003
Strands of yellow tape will soon surround parts of Bonita's lower lake, along with sounds of bulldozers and buzzing saws as construction work begins later this summer to repair a leak in the dam.
Monty Jackson, Meridian's public works director, unveiled the city's latest plans for the park on Tuesday during a meeting with the Bonita Lakes Development Authority.
Jackson said once repair work begins, it could take up to six months to complete.
He made his presentation more than a year after city workers began slowly draining the lower lake to look for a leak in the dam near the spillway.
The reason: Officials with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality's Dam Inspection Division found leaks in the dam during a routine inspection two years ago.
Meanwhile, the lake, once the main fixture at the Bonita park, has grown unsightly. Since it's been drained, parts of the lake have become covered with patches of dried mud and weeds.
City officials hope all of that will change when the repair work to the dam is complete. The repairs were made possible last year when the city received a $500,000 grant from the federal government.
Jackson said the lower lake won't be the only part of the park that will be improved. He said walking trails around the upper lake will also be upgraded.
Plans for the lower lake could also call for improving the fishing environment, he said. During construction, peninsulas will be created out into the water for fishermen and vegetation areas will be created to attract fish around those areas.
Another possibility could be fertilizing the lake, adding about 300 pounds of fish per acre of the lake.

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