Plans to restore Lake Gregory detailed

Apr 29, 2021 | Crestline

By Mike Harris

Using such words as “excellence” and “community” to describe what they want to bring to the job, the new concessionaire team for Lake Gregory Regional Park detailed plans to not only bring back the fun to the lake but also a new look and a new way of management.

Hosted by the Lake Gregory Community Advisory Committee (LGCAC), an overview of summer plans for the lake was presented, as well as what new concessionaire Lake Gregory Co. sees for the future of the lake. Presenters included Beahta Davis, county Regional Parks director, and representatives from RockForce Construction, the company that built the new buttress for the dam.

Pastor Bill Mellinger from the LGCAC introduced the evening’s presenters.

Speaking to a group of more than 100 mostly local residents gathered at the San Moritz Lodge last Thursday evening, Davis lead off presentations by stressing everyone would be involved.

“We will be working together,” she stressed. “We are not washing our hands and walking away,” she said about her department’s attitude toward Lake Gregory Regional Park.

Nathan Godwin, new general manager for the Lake Gregory Co., then presented an overview of what needs to be done before Lake Gregory opens Memorial Day weekend to start the summer fun.

Stressing that the effort to manage Lake Gregory was locally based (“I live here too,” he said), the new management team is trying to use local contractors as much as possible, but added that some specialized support was also needed.

Godwin then detailed a list of things that had to be repaired or refurbished, such as the boat docks.

“Only one of the two (existing) docks is usable,” he said. Winter storms of a couple of years ago severely damaged the docks. “We will have to add a new gangplank and some upgrades. Getting a new dock in here will take some time.”

Seven new electric-powered Duffy boats, like the ones seen around Newport Harbor, will start arriving May 1, he said. They will be about the size of the larger row boats that used to be available for rent at Lake Gregory in previous years.

A major priority, Godwin added, was getting the two water slides repaired. A large oak tree fell across the slides in an earlier winter storm, making them unusable. Godwin said he expects the water slides will be available for the public to use in early summer.

The San Moritz Lodge is in pretty good shape, he said, but a new roof will be needed. That’s in the works as well.
Also, the popular splash pad, designed for small children to enjoy, will be operational by opening day.

The large inflatable water toys, planned for the North Shore swimming area, will be inflated and anchored soon. He called the new play area “Splash Islands.”

One of the big announcements of the evening was that efforts are being made to not only have fireworks over the lake for Fourth of July celebrations but that the Jamboree Days parade would be happening. A group of local businesses, including Thousand Pines Camp, the Crestline-Lake Gregory Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Gregory Co., would be leading the effort, he said. Details would be shared at a later date.

Godwin then said that a Lake Gregory beautification day was being planned for May 22, and encouraged the public to come out and help with picking up trash.

“We want everyone to come together,” he said. “Many hands make the work lighter.”

Much of the equipment at Lake Gregory was gone and all new equipment would have to be purchased, he said.

Steve Garcia, executive director for the Lake Gregory Co., then spoke about a broader view of what the new team wanted to do.

“I want to use one word,” he said: “Community. We want to come together as a community, for the benefit of each other and our children. The outreach so far has been incredible. Many folks have asked us, how can we help, how can we get involved. It’s been wonderful.”

There have been some major costs involved, he added, such as spending more than $30,000 to refurbish the old Cove Café. The old concessionaire basically stripped away existing kitchen equipment, and the walk-in food freezer had to be made operational again.

Garcia also detailed plans for the old ball field near San Moritz Lodge. The field will be repaired, to be used for other sports as well as a ball field, including soccer and football. A new dog park three times the size of the existing dog park will be developed, as well as a new playground area near the lodge.

The entrance of the lodge will be relocated and a new band stand will be added in the area, with sound to be directed out toward the lake and way from existing homes.

“If we do all this with excellence, then the community wins, the county wins, and tourism wins,” Garcia added.
One of the questions from the public centered on parking fees. Godwin said that because Lake Gregory is a county regional park, he would have to abide by what the county charges at all its regional parks. He added that he and his team are offering package deals to the public that would include parking.

Toward the end of the presentations, Mellinger wrapped things up by saying, “We need to stop focusing on the past and focus on the future.”



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