The city’s newly acquired aquatic weed harvester has been put to work clearing out the lake at Bobby Hicks Park.
The harvester uproots reeds and water hyacinth plants, and hauls them back to land where they are completely dried before they are taken to an incinerator, said Greg Bayor, the city’s parks and recreation director. The machine also is equipped with a basket to clean up litter and other debris.
The machine’s manufacturer delivered the harvester, which cost more than $100,000, on May 7.
The apparatus can clear about a half-acre of weeds daily, Bayor said. Once the machine is done with the 22-acre Bobby Hicks lake, it will move to other lakes around the city.
The plan is to operate the harvester four days a week, he said.
Odie Jones, a member of the Gandy/Sun Bay South Civic Association, said neighborhood residents have rallied for years to get the lake cleaned up.
Once all the weeds are cleared, people will be able to fish in the lake and use the pier again, he said.
“It shows that you care about the neighborhood when you keep up things like that so anybody can come in and enjoy it,” Jones said.