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Severe drought dries up Las Cruces lake

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Feb 25 2013 10:40:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 10:30:39 PM CST

An update on Burn Lake located in Las Cruces.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Burn Lake in Las Cruces is now just a large hole full of dirt.

The city of Las Cruces is working to bring the park back to life with new additions and renovations.

Many Las Crucens are wondering if the lake will ever be full again.

When asked to describe the Burn Lake Park, "barren", "desolate" and "lonely" were common answers.

"I lived here until '92 and the water level was way up to where the trees are over there. I used to catch nice bass out here. It was just a beautiful place to be really," said Las Crucen Jim Hodovan.

Gradually over the past few years, the lake has dried out to nothing but dirt, trash and some dry shrubs.

"It's kind of sad to see it that way. It really is. It's like a desert now, barren," Hodovan told ABC-7.

The severe drought the state has seen has sucked away the water.

"This was actually an actual swimming area. I'm standing in it now," Hodovan said.

The most water you can see at Burn Lake Park is on the soccer fields.

City officials said there isn't much they can do about it.

"A lot of it will depend on the summer, how much summer rain we get. There's an irrigation channel that runs to the lake so if we get excess water we can dump the water into the lake via irrigation canals. Until we get past this drought period we're probably going to be stuck in this condition for a while," said Brian Denmark, assistant city manager of Las Cruces.

Despite not being able to control the water levels, Denmark said city council has made it a priority to revive Burn Lake Park.

Denmark said they are designing new picnic areas, more shade and new play areas for children. He also said they are adding a trail that would go all the way around the lake bed. Another addition to the park will be lighting for the soccer fields to allow for night games, according to Denmark.

"The ability to go for walks and enjoy the area, play soccer, have picnics, things of that nature, that's what we're working on right now," he said.

Las Crucens told ABC-7 they would love to see the park full of people and water again.

"I think that will definitely bring some people to the park," said Bernice Ventura. "I think maybe build something where the water was. Maybe build some more park areas like at Young Park."

"At one time there were nice crowds. I'm sure it would draw a lot of people. They need places to go like this, especially in the desert," said Hodovan.

Denmark said the entire project will cost around $700,000. He added the project is still in the design phase.

As for the lake, officials said only time will tell.

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