CELINA — A local lake official says progress is being made that could result in a facility being built to help in the battle to heal Grand Lake St. Marys.
Lake Improvement Association President Tim Lovett said representatives from Ag Conversations recently held a meeting in Columbus that could lead to the start of construction on a facility that would turn manure into fertilizer and dredged lake material into potting soil. Representatives from the company gave a presentation during last month’s LIA meeting and brought samples of what their technology can do to help the water quality of Grand Lake St. Marys.
“Their concepts are unique in the fact that they are income generating versus cost-based systems,” Lovett said during Saturday’s LIA meeting. “They can take our products out of the lake and they can take the ag products in the watershed and convert them into sellable products.”
During the meeting, Lovett noted talks centered on possible timelines for plants to be constructed in the watershed. One facility would handle the dredged lake material and the other would take manure and convert it into fertilizer.
“Ultimately we would like to have those going by spring because, naturally, if you convert manure into fertilizer your best time to sell is in the spring,” Lovett said.
“So they are looking at doing that. That piece of it is ongoing and we are seeing some movement there. So hopefully, in the not too distant future, we can announce that we have a company off that list that is actually going to be in the watershed doing some very, very good things. That’s very positive news.”
LIA members also received a brief history regarding their organization.
The lake preservation group recently turned 65. Bill Ringo, a former president of the LIA, recently came across some historical documents that included LIA minutes.
“Almost everything we are talking about today was an issue back then,” Ringo said. “From discolored water, to the dredging operations and so forth. They were relevant then and they are relevant today.”
Ringo recapped the minutes from the first meeting of the group, which was held Nov. 29, 1946, at Bayview Lodge.
Ringo said the group visited Columbus for a meeting with who would today be the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to explain their concerns regarding the lake.
“Work was started immediately,” Ringo said, noting the members complained about the conditions of the lake’s channels.
“One dryland dredge and one bulldozer started at It’s-It’s Landing and more to come at any time. Work to continue around the southside until all the channels have been taken care of.”
On Dec. 23, 1946, the group elected its first slate of officers.
During that meeting, members agreed to call the group the Lake Resort Improvement Association. Fees for the group were $10 a year for associated landing operators and resort owners, $5 a year for businessmen and $1.25 a year for others.
“Many times the LIA had banquets for specials guests and an annual banquet,” Ringo said, noting one was held Jan. 6, 1947.
On Jan. 9, 1947, members approved the constitution and bylaws. Ringo also recounted that in 1947, a private individual obtained permission from the state to remove carp from the lake. Ringo said he planned to update the results of the man’s task during later LIA meetings.
“We may decide what we want to do with these documents,” Ringo said. “They do belong to the association.”
The next meeting of the LIA is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 3 at the Celina Moose Lodge.