House Speaker grants $3 million to dredge Sloper Pond

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington), left, and YMCA executive director John Myers, center, survey the pond at YMCA Camp Sloper. (Submitted)

Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-30) announced on Friday, April 13 that the State Bond Commission has approved a $3 million grant to the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA for dredging the pond at Camp Sloper.

“Camp Sloper has been an integral part of the community for not only kids from Southington, but kids from several nearby towns, and the pond is an essential part of the camp,” said Aresimowicz in a press release. “When I went to visit the camp and was informed of how serious the problem was getting, including kids not wanting to swim because they were developing ‘swimmer’s itch’ from the conditions, I felt it was important to help fix the issue so the camp can continue to provide a safe and fun place for kids to enjoy.”

These funds will provide assistance to the YMCA to develop and implement a preservation plan to dredge Sloper Pond to ensure the long-term health of the pond for future generations of the people who enjoy it as well as the wildlife who inhabit it.

Due to long-term natural causes, the pond’s depth has decreased dramatically. The shallower conditions have contributed to the pond becoming more susceptible to the swimmer’s itch condition. The depth has also led to aquatic vegetation taking over the pond every spring, which is currently being chemically treated on an annual basis.

Although the pond is still relatively healthy, if no action is taken, the pond has the potential to turn into a swamp in years to come.

The dredging is expected to include the removal of 125,000 cubic yards of silt and sediment, which will improve the overall water quality. The increase in depth will reduce the swimmer’s itch condition and create an environment that is not conducive to aquatic vegetation growth, which will eliminate the need to chemically treat the pond.

The funds will also be used to construct several program amenities and improvements, such as re-grading the swim areas, providing floating logs for turtles and other wildlife, planting sunken trees and rock clusters for fish habitat, creating a handicap accessible fishing pier, and making the pond more attractive for swimming and more ecologically balanced. Preventative measures will also be installed to ensure that the pond can be routinely maintained in the future.

“We are beyond thrilled and appreciative with the state’s approval to support our Sloper Pond Dredging Project,” YMCA executive director John Myers said in the release. “What a terrific validation of our efforts to protect and enhance one of Southington’s most precious resources. The Sloper Pond Dredging Project, when completed, will be an incredible gift for future generations to share and use. Thanks to our elected state officials past and present for your continued support of our Y.”

Funding was approved by the State Bond Commission on Friday,  April 13.

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