A Fortune Runs Through It

Tempe has long given the impression its Rio Salado project costs $45 million. The actual taxpayer tab could surpass $200 million.

"Effective lake management practices can minimize the occurrence of these mats but probably cannot prevent them entirely."

The same report notes that in other instances, "fish kills can occur if oxygen content falls too low; on the other hand, fast-growing, emergent vegetation can clog the surface of the lake."

There is no doubt that from time to time, Town Lake will be an unpleasant place to be.

"Through active management of the lake, such undesirable conditions can be reduced in both frequency and severity, but probably will not be eliminated entirely," the report concludes.

The image of foul-smelling algae mats and belly-up fish washing up against the shoreline below the $210 million Peabody Hotel doesn't sit well with Peabody chairman Marty Belz.

"That would be horrible if something like that happened," he says.
Time will tell if Tempe can manage the lake's water quality. If Rio Salado finances are any indication, nose plugs might be required accessories.

Contact John Dougherty at his online address: jdougherty@newtimes.com

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