Children’s Lake Project

A Brief History of Children’s Lake – Information taken from “At a Place Called the Boiling Springs” edited by Richard L. Tritt & Randy Watts

At the heart of the village sits the breathtakingly beautiful, Children’s Lake.  The lake is a man-made lake that was formed in the 1750s. It all started when springs were first dammed to power bellows that ran the historic iron furnace that is still standing today at the northern end of the lake. The waterpower produced by the dam was used to supply electricity to the village. Over the years, a spring formed a main stream that flowed into the lake and eventually eroded and evolved into multiple springs that make up the majority of the lake’s water supply. The streams that feed the lake are the seventh largest in Pennsylvania. Over time, stone walls were built, sidewalks were added, railings were installed, and trees were planted; all which made the lake a popular spot for recreation. It even became a popular attraction for many visitors outside of the Boiling Springs area.

In 1987, the lake was secured for public use and the title was given to the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. This led to how the lake became “Children’s Lake”, which was named in honor of major benefactor, Frank E. Masland Jr. The Boiling Springs Civic Association and many citizens of the community worked together on a project to landscape the lake, rebuild the lake wall, and maintain its beauty.

The very picturesque, Children’s Lake has been the center of the village and home to wildlife for years. It has been a place for both recreation and relaxation for community members and visitors. Many have cherished memories at the lake fishing, walking, feeding the ducks, and taking in its beauty while sitting on the benches that surround the lake.

In 2017, it was announced that the dam needed replaced and repaired, which would drain the lake for approximately a year at the commencement of construction. The estimated cost of the project is 2.4 million dollars, which includes repair and replacement of the dam spillway, addressing structural and drainage issues, ADA-compliant sidewalks and railings, construction of streetscape features, sediment removal, and ecological assessments. Officials from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission stated that they did not have the money to fix the dam. “We are but one bad dam Inspection away from the lake being drained (Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission).”  The dam is in extremely poor condition and has been deemed unsafe. The dam in its current functioning and capacity for storm water and spring water does not meet DEP requirements.

If the beloved Children’s Lake was going to be saved for years to come and future generations, the dam needed to be replaced and funding identified. Historically, the residents of the village community have always been dedicated and willing to keep the lake a stunning site. Now is no different, as many members of the community took actions and extraordinary efforts to save the legendary, Children’s Lake.

Save the Lake Campaign

Jorie Hanson and Liz Knouse (members of the BS Villager Group) led a community advocacy campaign to raise awareness and funding with a goal to not only save the lake by replacing the dam but improving the lake as well. The campaign started in May 2017 and was remarkably successful as many community members and volunteers held fundraisers and community advocacy events.

The group worked collaboratively with South Middleton Township, the PA Fish and Boat Commission, the BS Villager Group, and many other local community clubs and stakeholders. Since their first meeting, they had a save the lake float in the Memorial Day parade and booths during Foundry day, AT Music Fest, and Summer Fair’s Anything Floats. Save the Lake lawn signs, and T-shirts were sold to raise funds for the campaign as well as to raise awareness. Additionally, children in the community organized impromptu lemonade stands to raise funds.

The community received incredible support from not only local residents and businesses, but also government officials. A $2.4M line item in the Capital Budget paved the way for saving the lake, along with $400K from local corporate contributions, South Middleton Township, and PA Fish and Boat Commission as well as over $14K in other donations and fundraisers.   

The project to save the lake has been underway since the beginning of the campaign in 2017 and is almost ready for the construction phase.  

Timeline

September 2018 – Design submitted

September 2019 to September 2020 – Engineering phase

Winter 2020 to Spring 2021 – Start construction

Winter 2021 – Lake Project complete

Photo Credit: Jennifer Spangler