Big changes coming to Fellows Lake, including a new marina
Marina will open for the season March 1.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - City Utilities announced this week some big changes coming to Fellows Lake, including new operators for the marina. You will see the changes roll out by spring.
Fellows Lake’s primary purpose is to provide drinking water for Springfield.
It is also a popular spot for recreation. The lake is operated by City Utilities.
Joel Alexander, with City Utilities of Springfield, said, “We’re excited to be able to offer the use of the land out there. But we want to be very mindful of the people that live out there too. We’re going to do everything to try to make as many people as happy as we can.”
Fellows Lake opened for public use in 1958. The marina was built the same year.
“It’s not going to become a party lake, it’s not going to become a lake that’s a free for all either. We’re going to manage that very strictly,” Alexander said.
The old marina has not had a major overhaul since opening.
The price tag for the new marina is just under a half-million dollars.
“That’s really a good investment for our community,” Alexander said.
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, which has helped manage the Lake since the 1980s, will be the new operators of the marina.
Mike Kromrey, the executive director for the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, said, “It was founded in 1984 to protect Fellows Lake. We’re excited to operate the new Fellows Lake marina as a way to not only provide the services that the community expects but also keep a focus on protecting our drinking water.”
The marina will begin operations for its regular season on March 1. By April, City Utilities plans to build the new facility.
“We’re going to have boat slips for rent. We’ll have rental boats, both motorboats, and kayaks. We’ll have materials for angling,” Kromey said.
Guests will enjoy many of the same amenities. Angling gear such as bait and tackle and snacks will be available in a limited capacity.
Matt Taylor was hired specifically for the operation manager role for the new Fellows Lake LLC. He says improvements will be rolled out for the marina over the next few years.
“It is a multi-year goal. It will open on March 1. We’re not going to be where we want to be in the end, but we will have a nice facility with a good amount of outreach to our local community partners, as well as offer the kayaks and canoes and boats to rent,” Taylor said.
Long term plans include building bathrooms, classrooms, and entertainment spaces. The new marina will focus on classes and outreach opportunities for the community.
“It’s still going to be a huge recreation spot, but we’re going to bring in more education and outreach. And conservation of the drinking water,” Taylor said.
In addition to a new marina, 35 miles of trails around the lake are in the works. These are in addition to the trails already present at the lake.
City Utilities is partnering with TrailSpring and Ozarks Greenways for the project.
Mary Kromrey, the executive director for Ozarks Greenways, sent this statement below:
We are very excited that we are able to partner with City Utilities and TrailSpring to offer almost 35 miles of natural surface trails on property owned by City Utilities. These trails are sure to be enjoyed by people who enjoy hiking, trail running, and mtn. biking. TrailSpring anticipates the first phase of 6.65 miles opening this winter! The existing Fellows Lake Nature Trail is open and will remain so for people who hike and trail run. The new trails are not yet open, so we hope that folks will be respectful and wait until their opening later this winter. Fellows Lake is such a special place in our community since it is a source of our community’s drinking water, and we’re sure it will continue to be a destination for people to enjoy the outdoors.
The new marina hopes to have bikes for rent in the coming years for people wishing to ride the trails. Motorcycles or motorized bikes are not permitted on trails in Greene County.
“Anytime change happens, people are reluctant to embrace it. We want to try and build bridges for all the local people around the lake. And assure them and show them that we are going to maintain and preserve and protect the beauty of this area,” Taylor said, “We are ecstatic to get started on this.”
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