The Bend Park & Recreation District voted Tuesday to spend $100,000 to study a solution to the silt problem in Mirror Pond.
Don Horton, the district’s executive director, said in a staff recommendation that the money would match the $100,000 the city of Bend has put up for the study.
Mirror Pond — which is considered a part of Bend’s identity — is in danger of becoming mudflats if nothing is done to dredge two decades of accumulated silt. The nearby hydroelectric dam slows the water and sediment through the pond, causing some of the sediment to settle along the edges and build up over time.
Horton said he believes the combined $200,000 will be enough for an internal planning and development team to conduct an analysis to find a solution to the siltation problem.
The Mirror Pond Management Board originally wanted to hire outside consultants, a job estimated at $500,000. They can reduce this cost and expedite the overall analysis process by using internal staff, Horton said.
The actual dredging project is expected to cost between $2 million and $5 million.
Now that the group has the initial funding, Horton said it can make the project a priority and begin an analysis within the next few months.
“My instinct is always that staff will do it better than a consultant,” said Ted Schoenborn, a park and recreation director. “I think it’s a great model for a community-wide project. It’s exactly the kind of thing we’ve always thought was appropriate.”
Community members have suggested dredging the pond immediately for aesthetic purposes, removing the dam entirely to fix the silting problem or doing nothing about the silt.
The last time the pond was dredged was in 1984 at a cost of $312,000.
Source: The Bulletin ©2012