Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Plan and the Reality a Century Later

This morning, after reading the 1914 article about the plans for Oakdale Lake, DPW superintendent Rob Perry confirmed that much of what was said about the lake before it was created is true today. The Oakland Park Improvement Company said the lake was going to be about 5 acres, and GIS software finds the lake to be 4.72 acres.

They said there would be "a method of letting out any part or all of the water," and indeed there is a drain that conveys water from Oakdale Lake into Underhill Pond. Perry provided the photograph below and explained that it "depicts the westerly discharge of Oakdale after an obstruction was cleared. The net result was a drop in lake elevation of about a foot." 

He added that the discharge from that pipe, which is continuous, is easily visible from a path on the west side of North Sixth Street (over the guardrail) that leads toward Underhill Pond. "Once you are about 20 feet in or so, it is on your left and down."

What didn't turn out the way the planners envisioned is the depth of the lake. The Oakdale Park Improvement Company promised a lake that would "not be over five feet deep so that it will be absolutely safe for children to skate and row on." Perry reports, "There are depth measurements on the Youth Department docks detailing depth in excess of 12 feet." He also recalls, "A mature maple slid down the southern escarpment during heavy rains in 2012. All but a few branches remain submerged."

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