Ellis Lake has been a long-standing and iconic location in Marysville – an area where residents and families like to come, sit, picnic and just relax.

“We love this lake, it’s beautiful,” said Kathy Bowman, a resident of Sacramento but frequent visitor of Ellis Lake.

But for some time, now, Ellis Lake has not lived up to its decades-long reputation, as far as some are concerned. And residents and visitors are getting fed up. 

Craig Leri, who lives and works next door to the lake, said something needs to be done soon. He says the transient population has taken over the lake, dirtying it with needles, trash and other things that make it almost uninhabitable at times.

“I literally have to walk the perimeter of my property every day to pick up the hypodermics (needles),” said Leri, an attorney who owns and operates a law office at the 1100 block of D Street. “I have drug deals going down even with families there. They (transients) scare my clients, steal trash cans. We have a big problem, so if anybody can think of any way to help improve it, I’m on board.”

The city has been trying to work on a solution to the Ellis Lake situation, with its latest proposal being a multi-point master plan designed to revitalize and revamp the lake and area. The plan, in partnership with Yuba Water Agency, is to improve the water quality, develop more access points in and out of the lake property and upgrade and clean up the area, said Marysville City Manager Marti Brown.

She said the first step is to apply for a grant with the YWA then put it out to bid.

“My hope is to get bids out and (start) planning in the next couple months,” Brown said. The city has been brainstorming a number of ideas, starting with how to clean up the lake itself and improve the quality of the water.

“Visibility and odor are the two things I care most about,” Brown said. “I believe there’s an algae issue with the lake.”

Brown is also hoping to create better access for residents of Marysville: for instance a pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing B Street, allowing easier access for residents coming from East Marysville.

“That’s half of our city or more than that,” Brown said. “Seems like a missing link for sure.”

Brown said widening the sidewalks and making everything compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act is another bullet point. Perhaps even removing some of the stones that line the edges of the lake is another idea that Brown and the city have come across.

“There’s very few places where you can figure out how to get out of the lake,” Brown said. 

Brown said not all the stones will be removed, but from a public safety standpoint some may need to be taken off in the process of cleaning up the area. 

Another factor in the revamp is improving the lighting, making everything more visible at night, which Brown said should act as a deterrent to the transients that frequent the area.

Sandra Macias of Plumas Lake, said improved lighting is a really good idea.

“Lighting would help,” Macias said. “I’m appalled at the conditions up here. It’s degraded, the water is dirty, there is trash and it’s surrounded by this horrendous traffic.”

Bowman and her friend and fellow Sacramento resident, Brittani Robinson said the lake is beautiful, but it needs some attention right now.

“It just needs to be cleaned up,” Robinson said.

Revitalizing Ellis Lake

The plan to clean up and upgrade Ellis Lake in Marysville has many moving parts and pieces. The city is working on filling in the gaps with Yuba Water Agency as its partner.

The plan includes:

  •  Improving the water quality by proceeding with a pilot aeration program in the southwest quadrant of the lake, an expansion of additional water quality measures and the reliance of a single-source mitigation method helped in part by experienced staff at the YWA.
  • Sustainability. Integrating water models that encourage development and use of new technologies, including efficient discharge methods.
  • Connectivity. Bicycle and pedestrian access is limited, with access from East Marysville non-existent. The plan is to try and close this gap and allow more Marysville residents easier access to Ellis Lake.
  • Modernization/ADA compliant. Widening the sidewalks and possibly removing some stones that line the lake, City Manager Marti Brown said, in order to make all areas around the property safer for the public. 

For more information on the Ellis Lake plan visit https://go.boarddocs.com.

Recommended for you