Complaints about noisy folks boating and fishing at night on what's called "Watershed Park" off Weems Road in north Columbus has city leaders looking at restricting overnight access to it, and possibly extending such regulations to other city-owned lakes.
Watershed lakes serve primarily as flood control impoundments that collect storm water and allow sediment to settle out before the water flows into creeks. "Watershed structures were built in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s as part of a federal program for flood control," said Donna Newman, the city's engineering director.
They can be popular for fishing and other recreation, and the pastoral scenery they provide attracts homebuyers to nearby neighborhoods.
Watershed Park, at 3131 Stinson Drive, has houses around it, and residents there don't care much for the nighttime noise coming off the lake. So Columbus Council at its 5:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday is to consider these restrictions:
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• Allowing no one "to enter or remain" in Watershed Park from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., unless participating in an activity "supervised or scheduled by the Department of Parks and Recreation."
• Prohibiting anyone from parking or using a boat at the lake.
Parks & Rec will post signs informing visitors of those regulations, if council approves the restrictions set out in a city ordinance. The law would take effect 10 days after the council vote, and violators could face fines of up to $1,000, said City Attorney Clifton Fay. City administrators may propose similar laws for other city-owned lakes in residential areas, so all the regulations are consistent. Other lakes include Heath Lake, south of Weems Road in Windsor Park, and the Bull Creek watershed lake off Schomburg Road south of the J.R. Allen Parkway.