Our View: Treating Ellis Lake as an asset
– Commissioned by the Women’s Improvement Club of Marysville in 1924. Completed in 1939.
– Named for W.T. Ellis Jr., former Marysville mayor and considered the father of the city’s levee system.
Ellis Lake is simultaneously lauded by some as Marysville's beautiful centerpiece and loathed by others as a neglected reminder of the city's past glory and present financial struggles.
We want to see it treated as it should be: Like a real asset that helps sell the city and makes it more livable and workable. The man-made feature isn't going anywhere and we're not gaining anything by ignoring it.
Its walking paths, picnic areas and fishing spots should be spruced up and highlighted; and we don't think that sort of work would take Herculean efforts or enormous additional budgeted expenditures. It needs citywide commitment and it needs to get done.
And then some public relations work could be undertaken to counter the occasional ugly news coming to the surface, like duck-killing botulism outbreaks or people pulling items odd and frightening from the water — the kinds of things that happen, partly because of neglect.
It's the sort of problem that won't go away, and deserves more than a smile and a positive spin. Early last summer, during the second large-scale botulism outbreak in two years, a City Council member told the Appeal-Democrat, "Ellis Lake is looking better than it's ever looked." We don't mean to pick on that city leader; in fact, we empathize with him: We all want that to be true of the lake. But it's not exactly reality, according to a lot of other residents and city representatives.
But, hey, if you inventory positive opportunities, things could be looking up.
The recently launched "Help Ellis Lake Prosper" project, undertaken by the Marysville Exchange Club to raise the roughly $300 per month needed to operate the lake's lighted fountain, is a step in the right direction. We're hopeful scores of residents chip in.
Charles Ford and the Ellis Lake Volunteers also made a noticeable and commendable impact, though they could use more volunteers and resources.
At the government level, Marysville's financial constraints are no secret. Still, the new city manager, Walter Munchheimer, correctly identified the Lake District as a key economic component in his plan for prosperity. That was detailed in earlier editions of the Appeal-Democrat.
There must be some way around the money crunch when you are considering one of your city's most visible assets. Are all the government entities and all the volunteer organizations possible being reached out to?
The No. 1 opportunity to keep in mind? The public relations that the lake could provide, as thousands of people drive by, and as customers patronize businesses near the lake, and as 60,000 or so fans attend Gold Sox games every season at Appeal-Democrat Park, according to Horizon Air Summer Series data.
The value of that much public relations is worth working things out.
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Paula M. Patton, Editor Steve Miller, News Editor Richard Olmsted and City Editor Eric Vodden.