The fishing pond at the Osage Beach City Park could have a different look when it reopens sometime next year.

The fishing pond at the Osage Beach City Park could have a different look when it reopens sometime next year.

The pond, a watershed catch basin that sits above the rest of the park, was severely damaged during a torrential rain and flooding last August. The park and pond were subsequently closed, although some of the park reopened in early April.

The board of aldermen is considering a different approach to the pond, which was emptied for repairs and to remove flood-related debris. Recent rains have partially filled the pond.

Nick Edelman, city engineer and public works director, told the board during a special budget review meeting Tuesday night that the current depth of the pond does not promote aquatic life. Fish found after the pond was drained were undersized because of the shallow depth.

Edelman said Department of Conservation officials say that at least 25 percent of the pond needs to be a minimum of 8-10 feet to sustain a healthy fish population and “we don’t have that there.”

The barebones cost to dredge the pond to the proper depth is estimated at $30,000.

The good news is that funds may be available for habitat betterment, especially if redevelopment of the pond includes handicap accessibility. Creating a peninsula with ADA accessibility by using material dredged from the bottom is under serious consideration by city staff and the board.

Department of Conservation personnel recommend two channels be dredged to a sufficient depth to allow aquatic life to reach their potential. The trenches would coincide with two main channels that feed the pond.

Alderman Steve Kahrs, whose family is in the fish habitat business, said the pond is a former Ameren UE fish hatchery which is notorious for seeping through the dammed portion of the pond. He said sediment in the lower end of the pond has actually slowed the seepage problem, and recommended dredging from the upper end of the pond.

City staff will investigate the possibility of creating a road around the pond that would allow for access to a peninsula on the upper end.

Other discussion

•To save money, the city is considering doing much of its own crack-sealing work by renting special equipment rather than paying to have the work done. City staff will also research the cost of renting an industrial strength pump truck to help clear debris from storm sewers rather than contracting the work.

•City staff will continue to investigate creating a tree line along the Expressway near Passover Road that would help block the view of the Sands Lift Station, a sanitary sewer facility in the area of Osage Beach Parkway and Passover.

•City staff will also prepare more data on improving security and public access to the public works building on Chapel Drive in the Industrial Park.

•City staff will also research what type of backup battery system is needed to prevent future interruptions in the communications department in case of power blips or complete failure.

•The board applauded the work of city staff for continually looking for ways to save the city money.