Payson Will Study Green Valley Erosion

Romance lands $37,000 fed stimulus contract to probe problems in chain of town lakes

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The father of the Payson trails system now gets to adopt Green Valley Lake.

Which is to say, former Payson Councilman Andy Romance will come up with a plan to prevent the banks of the Green Valley lakes from eroding and prevent stormwaters from polluting the crown jewel of the town’s public spaces.

The Payson council last week unanimously awarded Romance a $37,000 contract to study bank erosion and pollution of the waters of the lakes that form the centerpiece of Green Valley Park. The town will pay for two-thirds of that contract with a federal stimulus grant, which was authorized up to $52,000, paying for the rest.

Romance, an engineer who while on the council played a leading role in launching the ambitious Payson Area Trails System, will investigate ways to keep even the small waves that lap on the grassy slopes along the shore from nibbling away at the edges, washing sediment back into the dredged-out lakes.

The chain of lakes in Green Valley Park have become the focal point for residents and a host of town events.

Stocked with trout from Colorado, the lakes provide year-round fishing but no swimming, since they’re filled with treated wastewater.

Wave action has already chewed into the slope in places and undercut sidewalks and bike paths.

In addition, the contract calls for Romance to look into water quality and the potential for pollutants to wash into lake during big storms when runoff from streets fills the American Gulch.

He might even make recommendations on how the town can reduce the buildup of algae in the summer that sometimes consumes the oxygen and leads to fish kills, in addition to sometimes making the lakes murky and smelly.

The last-minute federal stimulus grant from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) requires a one-third local grant, but will enable the town to tackle worrisome erosion issues on the shores of the lakes.

WIFA also gave the town an $11-million stimulus grant to help build a pipeline to carry drinking water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir.

State officials in charge of prioritizing water projects for the stimulus money were so impressed with Payson’s massive packet for the Blue Ridge pipeline that they invited the town to apply for the $52,000 grant.

The $37,000 contract with Romance will just pay for the feasibility and engineering studies, but won’t provide enough money to actually make any needed repairs.

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