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REAP Restores Black Hawk Lake Stone Piers to Original Glory
Posted: 04/15/2014

Black Hawk Lake in Lake View attracts more than a quarter million visitors every year.  Made possible through REAP funding, restoration of its depression-era stone piers and historic shelter house, plus development of campgrounds and the Ice House Point trail make it a popular destination.

Two stone piers are the focal points of a three-acre municipal shoreline park that was developed during the Great Depression in 1934, under President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  The piers have remained among the most popular spots on Black Hawk Lake for fishing and special events.  They have also acquired importance as community-defining visual features that are used for promotional materials for the Black Hawk Lake area.  They are widely known as Lake View’s unique landmark.

Using REAP funding, each pier was coffer-dammed and pumped dry to allow reconstruction of mooring platforms that were given enhanced support. The piers received new concrete decking as missing pier stone was reset and cracks in existing mortar were tuck-pointed. The west pier’s tipped wing wall was stabilized and wood benches were constructed on the main deck, while the north pier’s stone benches were also restored.

The paved hiking/biking Ice House Trail is the beginning of a multi-phased project that will ultimately encompass the entire lake. 

 “The Ice House Trail is very well used and people really like it — it provides a lot of access to some underutilized areas of the park, so it has been really good for us,” said Lake View city administrator Scott Peterson. 

A result of recent lake restoration efforts, dredging has allowed for some of Black Hawk Lake’s deepest fishing holes to be found off Ice House Point, where fishermen now have easy access.  Peterson said the Ice House Point Trail had approximately 4,700 users between May and October, 2012.

In 1991, Black Hawk State Park received $185,912 for renovation of its historic CCC shelter house, originally constructed using native fieldstone.  The park also received funds in 2002, 2006, and 2012 for campground restroom facilities, upgraded electricity and playground equipment.

According an economic study by Dr. John Downing in 2010, the average annual spending, $19.05 million, and the number of jobs supported, 379, is higher for Black Hawk Lake than other nearby lakes.

“These historic structures have been around since the '30s, so we wanted to refurbish them and make sure they’re here for another 50 years,” Peterson said.

In its 25 years, REAP has benefited every county in Iowa by supporting 14,535 projects. REAP has funded these projects with $264 million in state investments, leveraging two to three times the amount in private, local and federal dollars.

Collectively, these projects have improved the quality of life for all Iowans with better soil and water quality; added outdoor recreation opportunities; sustained economic development; enhanced knowledge and understanding of our ecological and environmental assets, and preservation of our cultural and historic treasures.