Struthers Rotary funds dredging of Yellow Creek pond

The water in Yellow Creek Park is flowing freely again – thanks to yellow rubber ducks.

The Struthers Rotary, CASTLO and Rudzik Excavation partnered with Mill Creek MetroParks last month to dredge the pond at Yellow Creek Park, restoring the manmade attraction to its former depth and allowing the creek’s water to flow freely.

Mike Krake, member and former president of Struthers Rotary, said the project began because of a rubber-duck race.

“Every year we have a rubber-duck race fundraiser at the pond where people ‘buy’ rubber ducks to use in the race. We’ve noticed over the past few years the sediment buildup in the pond was starting to look bad and block the current, so we wanted to have it cleaned up before our race,” Krake said. “We remembered how it used to look there, and we wanted to get it back to that condition.”

This year’s Rubber Duck Race will take place Aug. 18 at the park.

Yellow Creek Park is part of Mill Creek MetroParks, so to clean the pond, Rotarians had to clear their plan through the park.

Justin Rogers, planning manager at the MetroParks, said the Rotarians’ request was timed conveniently; cleaning the pond already was on the park’s priority list.

“We had actually identified the problem as needing attention when the Rotary club came to us,” Rogers said.

Rotary offered to fund the entire project, donating $5,000 to the MetroParks for the operation. Once funding was in place, an excavator removed the sediment in the pond.

Krake said the project was a Struthers-wide endeavor; Rudzik Excavating provided the labor and equipment, CASTLO agreed to store the sediment, and Struthers police officer Pat Bundy organized the various players.

The sediment removed from the pond was nontoxic, largely just rocks and other natural material deposited from upstream sources — so the digging didn’t create any adverse environmental effects.

With its depth restored, Krake hopes to use the pond for more Rotary events.

“I’d like to look into eventually doing a youth fishing day at the pond,” he said. “We’d bring the kids down and get the pond stocked with fish for a nice day of fishing.”

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