DES MOINES, Iowa -- It has been a tough month for Gray’s Lake Park. First, floods closed the park for a week, then water quality and debris made the lake was off limits for two more.
“We tried to get her but it was completely flooded. And then like a few weeks later we had a day off so we came down here and it was high E.coli levels, so we couldn’t go that day either,” said Kent Spray, who drove down other times with his wife to visit the park.
The third time was the charm for the Sprays to enjoy Gray’s Lake but it took more than luck to get the lake open this weekend.
“It was a gigantic effort. We had a great cooperation from volunteers. We had public works, member from out department all over trying to make it clean and ready,” said Jen Fletcher, Des Moines Parks and Recreation.
The lake had near record water levels this summer so it took some time for the water to come back down. When it did, that’s when the real work started. Over 50 volunteers each day for a week straight pitched in to clean up.
“I was covered with just muck. We had to kind of stir up the sand and get it all smooth again so people could come again,” said Fletcher.
Friday evening was the first time the lake has been open since June 26 and it couldn’t come soon enough. “It was fun, hot, getting exhausted out here but the water kept me cool,” said Tim Clark, who was making his third trip to the beach already.
It is not just about the beach, it’s about all the amenities that come with it. “Trying the paddle boards has been fun too because I have never done it before,” said Lydia Spray. “It was nice to rent them, they were pretty cheap.”
It’s safe to say, everyone is happy to get back on the water. “Yeah totally, it was really fun,” said Kent Spray.
“Yeah we were really exited,” said Lydia Spray.
“It felt relaxing,” Clark said.
With perfect summer temps on the way, these guys have waited long enough to hit their favorite beach. “Because it’s fun to paddle boat and see the beach and stuff,” said 5-year-old Maggie, who was visiting her grandmother.
“We are going to go down and jump in the water and enjoy the rest of the day,” said Clark.