Not to fear, lake lovers. These improvements are not being done because the dam is structurally unsafe or failing. Constant monitoring of the dam's structure shows the dam is as sturdy as when it was built some 85 years ago.

The Lake of the Ozarks is slowly returning to recreational levels as we anticipate the return of boating season and all of the fun times that go with it.

The annual Ameren Shoreline Cleanup is well underway as Ameren officials and community volunteers to scour the shoreline to help make our lake one of the best recreational lakes in the country.

In the bowels of Bagnell Dam, also known as the Osage Energy Center, Ameren workers go about their daily responsibilities to make sure the dam works efficiently and safely, producing energy for the company's massive electric grid and providing us with a magnificent playground in our backyard.

While Ameren officials are often criticized for decisions they make — or don't make — the Osage Energy Center is a well-oiled machine. Officials truly have the best interests of their company and our lake community in mind.

Ameren is in the early stages of re-investing itself in the Energy Center and the Lake of the Ozarks with a $52 million, 18-month renovation project of Bagnell Dam that is expected to take it into the next century.

The downstream face of the dam will be "resurfaced", massive steel anchors will be bored 100 feet into bedrock and 66 million pounds of concrete will be added between piers to add strength and weight to the dam.

Not to fear, lake lovers. These improvements are not being done because the dam is structurally unsafe or failing. Constant monitoring of the dam's structure shows the dam is as sturdy as when it was built some 85 years ago.

But as good stewards of its investment, Ameren is charting a path for a profitable, safe and secure future by understanding that nothing lasts forever.

We fail sometimes to appreciate the investments and contributions that Ameren makes to the Lake of the Ozarks community. Ameren is a good steward of our lake — we should make the effort to do so as well.