- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Neighbors in an area near Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs are concerned about camping and other issues near the lake.

About 80 people gathered at Bass Pro Shops to learn about the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ two renovation projects on Lake Manawa State Park, the Daily Nonpareil reported (https://bit.ly/1ruDf1b ).

Under the proposed plan, 51 full hookup campsites would be made and dedicated spaces for tent camping would be eliminated, though tent camping would still be allowed. Mike McGhee, the department’s project manager for lake restoration, said the two projects are expected to total more than $10 million.

Jim Lawson, district supervisor for Southwest Iowa State Parks, said the changes would help decrease “less desirable campers.”

Residents who live in Lake Manawa neighborhoods were concerned about overall park and lake safety. Some supported the department’s plans while others wanted to reduce camping numbers or prohibit the recreational activity all together. They also noted thefts, the area’s homeless population and the proximity of planned recreational amenities to residents and campers.

Meribah Christensen, a board member for Friends of Lake Manawa, said safety was a high concern for residents since they live inside of the state park.

“It’s a weird setup because you usually don’t have a neighborhood in a state park,” she said. “I don’t mind there’s a campground there as long as it’s safe.”

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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