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Lacey City Council approves work for Lake Lois

Come this fall, Lake Lois in Lacey is going to get a little more TLC. A work crew is set to remove invasive plants and undertake other urban forestry maintenance at the lake’s habitat reserve.

The city-owned Lake Lois Park and Habitat Preserve, which is divided by Carpenter Road north of Pacific Avenue, measures about 35 acres. To the east is the larger habitat preserve, while to the west is Lake Lois Park. Both sides are open to the public.

The six-person Puget Sound Corps work crew will focus its efforts in November on the habitat preserve after Lacey City Council on Thursday night unanimously approved an interagency agreement with the state Department of Natural Resources. DNR will provide the crew, while the cost to the city is providing a portable toilet and paying for invasive plant disposal fees, estimated at about $1,000.

“It’s a big win for the community and a bargain for the city,” said councilman Jeff Gadman.

The work this November is a continuation of work that to date has been done mostly by volunteers, said Lori Flemm, the city’s parks and recreation director.

Since 2009, volunteers have racked up nearly 3,000 hours working on the lake, she said, while a group called the Kelp Krawlers Dive Club did an underwater survey in May 2011. Divers discovered that the lake was clean for its urban setting, finding only a fishing rod wrapped around a rock, Flemm said.

Lake Lois was operated as a resort in the 1930s, according to city information.

MILITARY SERVICE CENTER

The Lacey City Council also decided to move forward with spending about $10,000 a year to lease space for a veterans/active-duty military service center, with an emphasis on behavioral health counseling, as part of a memorandum of understanding with veterans centers in Tacoma and Federal Way.

The city will provide about 1,000 square feet in Building 2 of Rowe Six, part of a collection of office buildings on Sixth Avenue that will soon be the new home of South Puget Sound Community College’s Lacey campus. The city will sublease the space from SPSCC, city manager Scott Spence said.

The center is expected to open in October, he said.

Lacey has long desired such a center because veterans and active-duty military members play such a large role in the city. City data show that 25 percent of the city’s population is either active duty or veteran, but the percentage of the city’s population that benefits directly or indirectly from military-related income rises to as much as 60 percent.

“Lacey invests in its veterans community,” Spence said.

BUSINESS LICENSES

The council also approved a plan to turn over its business licensing services to the state Department of Revenue, joining 60 other cities, including Olympia and Tumwater, that have the same arrangement. It is expected to take effect in early 2015.

The move will provide administrative relief to the city and one-stop shopping for Lacey business owners needing to buy or renew a business license.

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