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Alonzo Weston (copy)

Alonzo Weston

Every once in a while I take a drive down to Lake Contrary. I like to see the seasons change there and the migrating birds. It’s a relaxing drive that also brings back memories of my youth.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, the lake beach would be full of families picnicking and playing in the water on hot summer days. Boats would cruise in the deep water. At the far end of the lake, fishermen would cast their lines hoping to catch carp and catfish.

I know years ago there was an amusement park and social club there, but it was before my time.

I’ve seen the lake at its best and its worst.

I’ve seen it full of people and I’ve seen it with fish dying in the dried-up lake bed.

The lake is seeing activity again with people in canoes and paddle boats and picnicking on the beach. Fishermen still cast their lines at the deep end.

Ivana Justice Calhoun, president of the Lake Contrary Development Association, recently contacted me saying the lake needs our help again. The primary job of the association is to take care of the pumps at the lake. The pumps are essential for both the life of the fish there and the health of the lake as a whole.

“Those pumps are responsible for adding oxygenated water to the lake for the sake of saving the fish ahead of a potential fish kill, and the pumps also remove excess moisture from under the south end levee,” Calhoun said.

Two of the pumps are more than 60 years old and need to be taken apart and assessed as to what they need to operate properly, Calhoun said.

That’s where the public comes in. The cost of evaluating the pumps is $9,350. The boat ramp pump may cost an additional $10,000.

“We as an association don’t quite have the money to do this project but it’s vital to the levee and also the fish in the lake,” Calhoun said.

The association is seeking help from the public, the businesses in the South Side that are protected by the levee and the county.

For more information or to donate to the cause, contact Calhoun at 816-262-1074 or visit the Lake Contrary Development Association Facebook page.

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