What should be done about lake Bella Vista? That is a question with many answers, as this is one of those times when almost everyone has their own opinion but there is no certain path. Somewhere in these choices lies the fate of the lake, and in time we will live with that decision.
There is one very important need, no matter what plan is used.
It is something the Bakers in 1915, the Linebargers 1917-1952, Mr. Keith 1952-1963 and Mr. Cooper 1963-1996 never did. It took a Chamber of Commerce Leadership team, the Trail Blazers, to create the walking path around the lake starting in 1996.
If you are to measure the lake's value, use the value to the lives of the many, not just a few. When I lived in Bella Vista, and even since moving to Fayetteville when making trips to the Bella Vista museum, I drive by the trail and a smile comes on my face. Rarely is it without walkers, and there aren't just walkers. Over the years, I've seen people on roller skates, little kids on what may be their first bicycle -- still with training wheels, older people, sometimes with a walker, taking that new knee or hip out for a little exercise in a safe place among native plants, and not just the flora, but the fauna as well, yet another observer of these people enjoying this safe pathway, bringing them to health as they recover, or bringing them a connection with the great outdoors. I've seen what are many Norman Rockwell moments as families walk the path with strollers, dogs on leashes and youngsters running ahead. I cannot think of any single improvement to this lake area which has been so popular and beneficial to the users' health and happiness. And it takes relatively little to keep it.
Please, whatever is done, do not eliminate the trail. If the dam is removed, please make it possible for trail users to continue walking the loop. If this feature of our community is removed, many, many people will be at a loss for the thing which brings them pure joy.
Carole Linebarger Harter
FayettevilleEditorial on 04/04/2018
Print Headline: Letter to the Editor