Extract from Mountain Democrat 27 September 1999


EID leases land for recreation around Bass Lake

By Molly Rhodes, Staff writer

Residents around Bass Lake and throughout El Dorado County could soon enjoy the recreation and relaxation of a revamped Bass Lake area, courtesy of the county, Rescue School, community services districts and El Dorado Irrigation District.

"The plan is to turn the Bass Lake that has sat there for years into a beautiful park area for our community," said EID Director Jeff Sellwood, who has worked with Rescue School District and Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills community service districts to lease part of EID's 157 acres surrounding Bass Lake for 20 years. "The cornerstone of the recreation project is the EID property."

Yet a portion of this property - along the southwest edge of the lake - will also likely be the cornerstone to meeting EID's future water needs, needs that aren't addressed with specific plans or studies for a future water treatment plant site in the lease agreement, argued EID Director Dirk Gillmeister.

"You need to do a preliminary engineering study before you can say how you'll use the land," said Gillmeister, noting that it would not so simple for EID to take the land back if it's already being used by the public as ball fields. "I am not against ball fields. It's the process I'm against. It's a way of doing business. We're in the water business. That comes before the ball field business. I don't want to affect our ratepayers."

While there was already a clause in the agreement between EID and the other interested parties allowing EID to approve all building plans before they began construction on the leased property, another clause could be added to the agreement that left EID the option of retaining an unspecified number of acres for the district's future use, conceded Sellwood.

With such protection for the district, all the directors except Gillmeister supported the project and the lease, along with a handful of participating service districts.

"We recognize this is EID property," said Wayne Lowery of the El Dorado Hill Community Services District. "We intend to work with staff to make sure we don't impact EID."

Added Larry McBride of the Cameron Park Community Services District, "We think this will be a tremendous asset to the entire community."

This asset, once completed, would include a passive nature reserve along the north and east sides of the lake - made possible partially through a county 40 acres land swap with L.B. Industries - and ball fields on the west side of the lake.

As soon as CPCSD's board agrees to lease the land - EDHCSD and Rescue School district boards already voted to approve the lease - the three groups, working with EID and the county's concerns, can begin putting together possible recreational plans and designs for the area.


Extracted/transcribed by Bass Lake Action Committee