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Fourth of July celebration again planned for Lake Isabel

This year's annual Fourth of July celebration at Lake Isabel Park - it begins at 9 a.m. and continues through the day with music, food, games will support an asset, not only to the east side, but to the whole community.

For 30 years, the group of people on the east side of the Hastings community has been dedicated, diligent and patient in pushing the restoration of the lady - Lake Isabel. It is a treasure in their back yard, but one they are willing to share with the rest of the community.

"It is a treasure," acknowledged original, and continuing member Joan Warner. She is a lifelong east side Hastings resident.

"Just look at the lake," she said. "You get a sense of serenity just watching the wildlife, listening to the sounds. It is calming."

There have been improvements in the lake in recent years, most noticeably one almost two years ago. A wooden pier with a fishing dock was built on the lake, and an entrance to the area, along with the parking lot, was paved. A small portion of the lake was dredged.

The East Hastings Improvement Association contributed $10,000, toward the project - the city footed much of the bill. The money has been generated through a number of fundraisers in the past years, including the Fourth of July celebration. An ongoing aluminum can collections brings in some funds.

Why do it?

Harold Christenson, another long-term east side resident has an answer.

"The lake is the reason," he said. We want all the residents to benefit from the lake."

The lake is spring fed, and Christenson envisions the dike being built to three feet.

There have been park improvements as well. A new flagpole and stand were dedicated at last year's celebration. The park is well used.

While obviously pleases and appreciative of the restoration that has taken place in recent years, the east side residents - and others - are committed to continuing the effort.

City officials and the park department employees have been very supportive of the project. Various civic groups have done their part, including Modern woodmen of America Camp 4747, which has provided matching funds for different activities.