High Lake Levels Hurting Business, Tax Revenues On Keystone Lake

Monday, June 15th 2015, 6:45 pm
By: Tess Maune

Keystone Lake has dropped 9 feet, but that's still not enough because businesses like the Harbor at CrossTimbers are still closed due to high water.

Water is typically what keeps a marina like CrossTimbers in business, but for the past month, water is the reason CrossTimbers on Keystone Lake has been closed.

Ron Howell owns the boat dock and its restaurant, Skipper's Landing. He hasn't been able to get to his business because the road that takes him there is under water.

"Seeing a few things I wished we'd moved," said owner Ron Howell. "This is my first view since we got everything ready as the lake was rising."

The physical damage is minimal: mainly debris removal and mowing to do. The marina and restaurant are untouched.

"They've just been doing what they always do, floating in water," he said.

The lake is still 20 feet above normal, and the ramp that takes you to the boat dock is still submerged and it will be until the lake drops another three feet.

This should have been the first fully operational summer for CrossTimbers since its restaurant opened as the summer season ended last year.

"Nothing can be done about this," said owner Ron Howell. "This is Mother Nature, the good Lord, whatever you want to describe it."

5/27/2015 Related Story: Mannford Schools, Community Brace For Rising Keystone Lake

Howell is losing restaurant and fuel revenue - thousands of dollars. But the City of Mannford stands to lose even more.

The city's most popular campgrounds are underwater and have been for a month.

"This is the case everywhere on Keystone, it's not just right here, of course," Howell said. "Camping shut down and access to the water shut down."

The water has finally gone down in the parking lot at New Mannford Ramp, revealing it will most likely have to be repaved. The city manager estimates that, on top of cleanup costs, the city will be out more than $50,000.

That doesn't include the loss of tax revenue from city businesses that are taking a hit from the lack of lake-goers.

8/29/2014 Related Story: Floating Restaurant, Airstream Trailers Offer New Options On Keystone

Still, there is hope the water will soon recede and that summer on Keystone Lake can be saved.

"We'll stretch the season and get it back, usually these things all run in cycles," said business owner Ron Howell.

Businesses on the lake are hopeful the water will go down enough in the next few weeks so that lake-goers can enjoy the Fourth of July holiday.