Let's look at what we have. That's the attitude some city leaders have about Lake Alan Henry. On Thursday, city, county, and community leaders from Lubbock and across the South Plains will be visiting the lake to gain knowledge about one of Lubbock's most valuable assets. For some, it will be their first ever visit to the Lake. There is no agenda for Thursday, and the reason for the visit is to simply view the lake and get an idea of what we have, so we can make it a greater asset in the future.
It is without question one of Lubbock's premiere assets, and despite its nearly decade long existence, this water treasure's value remains relatively unexplored. "It's amazing the amount of people in Lubbock that have not seen it, other than on TV or pictures of it," says Councilman Gary Boren. Boren organized an event that will give area leaders a chance to see the lake up close. A sort of ice breaking move, that could create smooth sailing for policy making in the future.
"That way, when we're talking about these issues later, we'll have a better understanding of what we're talking about," says Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal.
The lake visit is also a chance for Lubbock city leaders to extend a gesture of good will to neighboring counties. Although the lake is Lubbock's future water supply, we won't need it for the next 20 - 50 years. Consequently, there are a flood of ideas for its use in the interim. One idea: continue developing it into a prime recreational outlet. Another idea: allow our thirsty Kent and Garza County neighbors to use it as a possible source for their drinking water.
"We're still letting water out of the dam when rains come. So, if we can be a good neighbor and help other cities until we need the water, then that's something we need to look into," says Mayor McDougal.
"It belongs to the people of Lubbock, and the people need to have a lot of say in what takes place with their lake. First, in terms of water. Second, in terms of recreation," says Councilman Boren.
Water Utilities Director Terry Ellerbrook says we have an opportunity to capitalize on this investment. He says leasing the water out, while we don't need it, would essentially help pay for the lake and would mean Lubbock tax payers would pay less.
Thursday's event, however, is simply a time to discover what will undoubtedly be the center of many policy making discussions in the future.