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Editorial: Enrich the lake

Ask most people what Worthington's greatest asset is, and the answer will come quickly -- Lake Okabena. That's why it's important all of us -- in particular, the Worthington City Council -- do what it can to ensure the healthy future of our commu...

Lake Okabena
File Photo: A pair of anglers enjoy clear skies while they fish early Monday night along Worthington's Lake Okabena as darkness begins to descend. (Ryan McGaughey/Daily Globe)

Ask most people what Worthington's greatest asset is, and the answer will come quickly -- Lake Okabena.

That's why it's important all of us -- in particular, the Worthington City Council -- do what it can to ensure the healthy future of our community's jewel.

Earlier this month, members of the Okabena-Ocheda-Bella Clean Water Partnership joint powers board voted unanimously to request $2 million in legacy funds (from the city's 2008 sale of Worthington Regional Hospital) be dedicated to Lake Okabena and Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District projects. The request now awaits approval by Worthington's council.

The $2 million, it should be stressed, would not be handed over to the Clean Water Partnership to spend at its discretion alone. The request asks for the dedication of $2 million for lake-related projects, with the stipulation that each specific project recommended for funding receive city council approval.

The $2 million, it should also be noted, could help leverage additional money through various programs that offer matching funds.

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Councilman Mike Kuhle is a member of the joint powers board along with Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh. Both are well aware of the need for the $2 million investment, and a number of potential projects are already under consideration should the money come through. We are hopeful the remaining city council members approve a request that could pay long-term dividends for all of us in Worthington, and create a clean lake we can be proud of.

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