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Charlotte Area

Still no public swimming on Lake Norman this summer

http://66.225.205.104/JR20090420.mp3

Public requests for more swimming access on Lake Norman prompted Mecklenburg County to begin investigating the option last year. Summer's nearly here, but it appears lake swimming will have to wait. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: For 30 years, public swimming has been prohibited at the county's lake front parks. Several drowning deaths prompted the ban in 1977, leaving swimming access only to people with boats or beachfront property. Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Director Jim Garges wants to restore swimming privileges, and he hoped to have asked the county commission for it by now. But he says a budget shortage stalled the proposal. "There's a lot more bigger fish to fry here than swimming, so we've got a number of issues we've gotta get through first," says Garges. "Then once we get that finished, we'll come back to the county commissioners and make a presentation and see how they feel about it." Garges says Ramsey Creek Park on Lake Norman is the most likely spot for the county to add public swimming. However, it will require approval from county commissioners and a license from federal regulators that could take more than a year to approve. That leaves just one public swimming option for people without a boat or home on the lake this summer: Lake Norman State Park in Iredell County - a 40 minute drive from Charlotte.