The beach at Lionshead Lake doesn’t get many visitors nowadays. The water in the lake needs to be cleaned. The floating dock that kids used to swim to in the water sits on the beach.
The lake used to be a popular hangout spot, but interest in the area has waned in recent years. Now it is to the point where people can’t even go into the water because there is so much algae in it.
A group of dedicated residents is trying to breathe new life into the facility.
“There used to be parties here all the time. During the week there’d be as many as 60 kids on the beach some nights,” said Jimmy Oleksy. “This used to be everything to the community. Every family was a member here.”
Olesky is one of dozen residents who belong to the group. They meet to clean up the lake on Saturdays. The group has been working on improving the property since last August. The group meets on Mondays to develop ideas for what they want to see done at the lake.
“We want it to be open and accessible and re-imagine what it can be for the whole community,” said Chris Dubanowitz, president of the Lionshead Lake Property Owners Association.
Dubanowitz said that fewer and fewer of the area's 600 families are paying the optional $50 annual fee to use the lake. The lake flows out of the Point View Reservoir and along Lionshead Drive West before joining up with Pines Lake.
"We're not here to make money. That's not what this is about," Dubanowitz said. "We want people to know that they have a stake in this place. It's theirs to use if they want to."
The residents have started a Facebook group to get input from residents, exchange ideas, and foster interest in the area. The group is also creating a Web site.
The group wants to purchase new benches, install a new fire pit, and get some new sand for the beach. New swings and other playground equipment might be installed on a grassy area away from the beach. Residents also want to dredge the lake at some point. The group has already painted much of the old clubhouse.
The group spent about $8,000 in taxes, insurance, utilities, and water treatment last year.
“We’re trying to do the best we can with what we have, but we’re only volunteers,” Dubanowitz said.
Oleksy said that members of the group got involved because they know that if the lake closes for good, it could adversely affect nearby residents’ property values.
The group is planning to host potluck barbecue at the beach later on this month as a way of reintroducing the area to the community.
“We want to turn this into a community center, but we need help,” Dubanowtiz said. “We can’t do it by ourselves.”