ST. MARYS — The occasional passing shower didn’t dampen the fourth annual Summer Kickoff at Grand Lake St. Marys.
New leadership in the Lake Improvement Association has not resulted in a dropoff in organizing the one-day event.
“I’ve been on the board now for roughly four years, so it’s not my first rodeo with Summer Kickoff, but as president, yes it is,” said Nick Rentz, Lake Improvement Association President.
The event itself is to showcase what the area around Grand Lake St. Marys has to offer.
“It’s a fantastic way to get people out to Grand Lake and really show off the state park, to show off the amenities that we have here. We have a beautiful festival that sits with the lake as the backdrop. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful day out,” he said.
The day started out with a 5K Fun Run and people were entertained with live music throughout the evening. During the day, people could check out the vendors and even participate in beer pong or cornhole tournaments.
The Lake Improvement Association has become more active with its membership growing in recent years.
“The LIA has been around since 1947 and it’s always been an organization to try to make Grand Lake a better place for the community [with] the amenities, playgrounds and that sort of thing. But in 2010 when the algal bloom hit, our focused kind of changed to more of a cleanup effort involved. The way we do that is we aid other organizations like the Lake Restoration Commission. We support them with their Ag Solutions. We’re involved with it as much of it as we possibly can. We lobby state officials for funds. We are a 501(c)4 organization, so we do take political stances, and we’re an organization that has about 1,600 members, including businesses, on top of that. We are a large organization and we have a fairly loud voice with the community behind us,” he said.
Their efforts seem to be paying off.
“We’ve got some recent data from Dr. Stephen Jacquemin out at Wright State [University Lake Campus]. The manure ban is taking levels of nutrients coming off of the field, especially phosphorus, which is feeding this algal bloom that we have here at Grand Lake. Those numbers are decreasing. We have excellent numbers coming off of the treatment trains, so we’re reducing phosphorus sometimes up to 75, nearly 80 percent and we’re treating about 30 percent of the water that goes through, for example, Prairie Creek and Coldwater Creek,” he said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.