Fishing Close to Home

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

all the people in the community. Its facilities were only minimally accessible to senior citizens and disabled people, many of whom resided at nearby nursing homes, and there wasn't any easy way for people with disabilities to fish Rothwell Lake.

"The steep, hilly terrain around the lake made it impossible for some folks to fish," said Jerry Calvin, director of Moberly's Department of Parks and Recreation. "We had a couple of real nice fishing lakes, but there were just some needs that couldn't be served."

Moberly officials decided the park needed a dock that would allow people, even those in wheelchairs, to fish. Because such a facility would draw in many disabled users, they also decided to build a disabled accessible restroom near the fishing dock.

However, the city of Moberly could find no money for these improvements in their limited budget.

In May 1990, Calvin sent a letter to the Conservation Department expressing an interest in working with the Conservation Department to provide a partially covered fishing dock at Rothwell Lake. He hoped the project might be eligible for funding through the Conservation Department's Community Assistance Program or CAP.

"I'd heard about the program at a conference in St. Louis," Calvin said, "and I saw some potential to improve our lakes."

Conservation Department officials came to Moberly to talk about the project, study the setting and survey the project site. They found that, despite their age, the lakes still had 85 percent of their original capacity and provided a high quality fishery.

The city began negotiations with the Conservation Department and in early April 1991 both parties signed an agreement, in which the Conservation Department would construct a graveled 15-car parking lot, a paved 5-car disabled user-accessible parking lot and a paved path from the parking lot to a walkway that led to a covered fishing dock.

The estimated cost of the project was $23,000. In addition, the Conservation Department would provide $15,000 for construction of restroom facilities adjacent to the parking area.

In addition, the Conservation Department began long-term management of the two lakes. They established regulations and size and creel limits, including a slot length limit on bass, which balanced an overcrowding of small bass. They also provided advice on controlling weed problems and creating fish habitat.

For its part, the city agreed to allow the Conservation Department to manage the fisheries in Rothwell Lake and Old Water Works Lake and to allow free public access and

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