Crew Begins Pouring Slab for New Gate
It’s been exactly one year since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) abruptly closed the service road atop Canyon Lake Dam, but late this afternoon a work crew began pouring the slab for the installation of a new gate that will reopen the popular tourist spot and walking trail by mid-June.
“The small but mighty” grassroots Dam Community Alliance (DCA), working with stakeholders like USACE and Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA), managed to pull off the unthinkable — restoring public access to one of the most beautiful spots in Canyon Lake.
Speaking at an open house for the alliance at Goofy’s last week, Comal County Commissioner, Pct. 4 Jen Crownover said only weather could delay the installation of the gate, which is being fabricated by students at Canyon Lake High School.
Improved access, the new gate and $60,000 worth of bump-stops are safety enhancements to improve handicap access, Crownover said. USACE closed the service road last May after a handicapped veteran complained about its accessibility. The slab is being paid for by USACE. Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) and GBRA each contributed $30,000 to the effort. Other expenses associated with the project and in addition to that money will be funded by DCA through fundraisers like car shows and private donations. Bonnie Clark, an insurance agent with Allstate in Canyon Lake, donated $5,000 on behalf of her company.
“We are privileged to be a part of the larger corporation that invests in its employees and invests in the community, and we couldn’t be more proud to be able to donate this grant to the alliance for the improvements of the dam,” she said at the open house on May 14. “They’ll get it open. It’s all because of the wonderful people who volunteer within our community.”
USACE padlocked the popular trail atop the dam unexpectedly on May 21, 2018, citing safety concerns. However, the U.S. Access Board said the Corps refused to make reasonable and cost-effective modifications it suggested following an official complaint about lack of access by mobility devices.
Crownover quickly spearheaded efforts to reopen the road, arranging meetings with stakeholder groups and forming Dam Community Alliance.
“Not only did we come together for the immediate cause, but in the long-term, I think this is going to benefit the community in ways (nobody imagined),” she said.
DCA will continue its partnership with USACE even after the road is reopened.
Most of the other lakes in USACE’s Fort Worth District, which oversees Canyon Lake, have community partners that help to provide for amenities the cash-strapped agency cannot afford on its own.
Crownover said included on USACE’s wish list for Canyon Lake are more lookout points at Overlook Park, better accessibility than dirt trails, and more bathrooms.
“This is really the community’s chance to say ‘hey, this is a vision that we have that makes it better for all of us and the visitors alike,'” she said.