ORONOCO, Minn. (KTTC)- Lake Shady in Oronoco was once a thriving spot where many went to relax, swim and catch some fish. Now, the lake is a shell of what it once was, leading many to reflect on the good experiences and what they want the area to become.
It is hard to match a peaceful walk around a lake with family, and that feeling is one people in Oronoco have but will never feel again. There is a plan to make Lake Shady better, but not everyone is on board.
Many people flocked to it.
"We wanted to get out of town and go out to a little quieter place," says Dave Vaglahn, who moved from Rochester to Oronoco five years ago.
Some have been around it their entire lives.
"We used to swim in here, we used to water ski in here," says Carol Lubahn.
Lake Shady was once a place of leisure and entertainment, but is now a grassland. It is a reminder to everyone of what once was.
"Well, when we got here, that was all water and it looked great," says Vaglahn. "But then the flood came a few years back and we actually had water here all the way to the driveway."
For Dave, regardless of the look, the area still has a place in his heart.
"If we had the water back, that would be great, but that's not going to happen," explains Vaglahn. "We're not going to move because of the lack of water, but it would sure be nice to sit up on the deck and be able to look over it in the evening."
For people like Carol, the memories of Lake Shady go back many years.
"We used to ride our intertubes out into the middle and when water skiers went by, they'd form wakes for us," says Lubahn.
Just looking at Lake Shady now is hard for her to do.
"This is the first time I've been here since the big flood here a few years ago," Lubahn explains. "It's sad, it's very sad."
Past plans to improve the area have not work out the best, leading to more complaints. Yet, a new plan, in part, aims to eliminate the dam and add new rivers.
"Make them big enough so it's going to attract some water fowl and some wildlife," says Vaglahn. "The trail system they want to put in there, it's got potential to be nice, but they also have to raise the level of the creeks a little bit, that's ridiculous."
Others hope for a return to the past.
"We need to dredge it, put it back to its natural state," Lubahn explains. "We need to put it back to a lake so everybody can enjoy it. Sure, the birds enjoy it, but there's probably more people that will enjoy it more."
Either way, Lake Shady will never be the same again.
The timeline for the new renovation plan is still on schedule, the dam removal is scheduled for this winter.
At the end of it all, the area called Lake Shady may not even exist, but those memories will be hard to erase.
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