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Full speed ahead toward earlier boat races

Bloomfield Village Board approves association's request for Memorial Day event

April 23, 2013 | 01:25 PM
BLOOMFIELD — So far, all signs point to yes.

The Badger State Outboard Association's Power Boat Days will return to Pell Lake.

But this year, the plan is to have the boat races during the Memorial Day weekend.

Earlier in April, the village board approved the association's request for a three-day event Friday through Sunday, May 24 to 26.

In the past, the races went on for two days. This year, the association asked for three days of races, but the board declined that part of the request.

"Friday will be practices, then Saturday and Sunday will be the races," Village President Ken Monroe said in an April 17 phone interview.

"They had asked for three days of races, but we told them it would be a drain on (emergency services). Memorial Day weekend is a busy time usually for the police department."

The association's first race on Pell Lake was in 2009. The race returned in 2010.

Then, in August 2011, lack of regular lake maintenance caused a thick growth of weeds. Race organizers were forced to cancel the event.

Last year, the lake weed situation almost stopped the races from returning to Pell Lake.

At first, it was going to take place June 2 and 3, 2012. Then, June 9 and 10. Ultimately, on June 23 and 24, the races returned — with a half-mile course instead of the usual mile.

There were so many weeds in the lake that race proponents and volunteers referred to it as the "Pell Lake salad."

So, this year, will it be a question of the salad bar reopening before Memorial Day?

Monroe didn't think so.

"Unless it warms up," he said. "Once it warms up and you start getting a lot of sunlight, then you'll see the weeds start to come in."

With last year's delayed boat races, another issue came to the forefront of lake maintenance in general.

People complained about the lake weeds to the village board.

Last August, Monroe said he tried to create a committee to deal with it, but he said he wasn't able to find enough interested volunteers.

In general, volunteerism for lake weed removal chores died with the Mud Hens, a group of people concerned with the state of Pell Lake. However, the Mud Hens went on hiatus in 2010.

The Pell Lake Sportsmen's Club gave lake maintenance a try. Then, the club was fined $265 for violating restrictions on the permit which allowed it to remove the weeds.

Which brings the ball back to the village board's court.

Monroe said a contractor from Crystal Lake, Ill., is expected to give a presentation and cost estimate for lake weed removal to the Parks Lakes and Recreation Committee in May.

"We'd like to get an idea of what it takes to cut the weeds and for how long," he said.

As for the boat races, Monroe had this to say.

"You always have, no matter what, people who are opposed, but most of them were in favor of the races Ö It's just some good activity for the community," Monroe said. "It brings the people out. It's something different, something new."


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