Last updated: August 06. 2014 4:28PM - 659 Views
By - mruberti@civitasmedia.com

The West Point Lake Coalition hopes to add more solar powered buoy lights to the lake.
The West Point Lake Coalition hopes to add more solar powered buoy lights to the lake.
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Travel anywhere along West Point Lake and you’re bound to see dozens of buoy lights floating in the water.

Their beacon of light has helped guide many folks safely to shore, especially at night.

“People get caught in storms and use the buoy lights to get back,” said West Point Lake Coalition Executive Director Dick Timmerberg. “The lights also let people know they’re still in the channel.”

Timmerberg and the rest of the West Point Lake Coalition are hoping to maintain and replace the solar powered buoy lights - and possibly add more - through out the year. The non-profit organization is currently selling tickets to its raffle/ fundraising event. The grand prize is $1,000 worth of Shell gas cards, with a second prize of $500 worth of gas cards and a third prize of gas cards totaling $250.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the buoy lights,” said Timmerberg. ” We’re in the process of adding white lights to the no wake areas. It’s expensive to replace the lights when someone hits them (with their boat) … it’s costly, but our buoy light program has gotten the most positive feedback. We’d like to expand it.”

The coalition partnered with the Army Corp of Engineers to install the 200 solar powered buoy lights in the main channel from the Dam to Ringer Access, and in the Maple, Wehadkee and Yellowjacket creeks.

“It keeps people on the lake safe at night,” said Timmerberg.

Timmerberg is also hoping the fundraiser brings awareness to the value of West Point Lake, with the main focus being on maintaining the lake level at 632.5 feet or more year-round. Right now, Timmerberg said the Corp of Engineers drops the levels in the winter to 628 feet to reduce the chances of flooding in the spring and summer. According to a study done through the coalition five years ago, every time the lake level is lowered, less money is flowing into the local economy.

“The lake is the number one asset to Troup County,” he explained. “The lake is worth $710 million dollars per year in benefits when the lake level is at it’s peak of 635 feet. When the level is between 630 to 632.5 feet, that number drops to $410 million per year. Below 630 feet, it’s only worth $150 million. The lake level is critical for events and vacation destinations.”

In fact Timmerberg said the area around Maple Creek is being considered for a potential conference center and possibly more. In order to invest in the community, however, the community needs to invest in West Point Lake.

Anyone seeking more information on the West Point Lake Coalition’s plans and programs, or to purchase raffle tickets may contact the organization at 706-884-5916 or email Dick Timmerberg at dtimmerberg@bellsouth.net. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $5 each.

A drawing for prizes will be Sept. 30 at the West Point Lake Coalition annual board meeting.

Participants must be 18 or older to enter. The last chance to buy tickets is Sept. 23.

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