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Frac sand mining company donates $500,000 to City of Indepenence

Frac sand mining company donates $500,000 to City of Indepenence

INDEPENDENCE, Wis. (WKBT) - Residents in the City of Independence have been working to clean up Bugle Lake for the past 8 years.  Now, a $500,000 donation from a company that has seen it's share of controversy is making the project possible.

For 35 years, Bugle Lake has been filling up with sediment to the point where it's now just a couple of feet deep.  Ask Mayor Robert Baeker and he'll tell you how important Bugle Lake is to the community.  "It's the main stay, you come there Independence, it's the focal point," says Mayor Baeker, "We all grew up fishing in it, we all grew up swimming in it, boating, skiing, and in the winter you skated on it, ice fished."

But over the past three decades,the lake has been slowly disappearing.  Sediment build up changed the lake depth to just a few feet deep.  About 8 years ago the city decided to do something about it, but quickly discovered raising the more than $2 million dollars for the project wasn't easy.  "It's been 8-9 years of trying to find money and raise money," says Mayor Baeker, "from Washington, to the State Capitol, just that nobody is out there government wise to help us."

That's where Hi-Crush stepped in,  "We saw the passion that the citizens and the lake committee and the city council had for the project," says Chad McEver from Hi-Crush.  "For them to come forward with this donation is just awesome," says Mayor Baeker.  The frac sand mining company is donating $500,000 to get the project moving.  Being a frac sand company, they know they are not the most popular,but they say the donation is about being part of the community.  "When we're talking to cities about a potential project of ours that we want to be part of the community," says McEver, "we saw this as a good first step of becoming that part."

That first step is welcome news to project fundraiser Ben Sylla, who has high hopes for the lake's future.   "I envision a 54 acre, just, beautiful addition to our city," says Sylla, "it's going to be phenomenal."

The plan is to dredge the lake to between 10 and 14 feet deep and add other changes that will help them regulate water level.  The total cost will be $2.3 million.  Mayor Baeker hopes donations will cover most of the project so that taxpayers won't have to pick up the tab.  The city hopes to start the first phase of dredging later this year.

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