The proposed Coonskin Lake (dark blue) would take up 65 acres in a current ravine.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two experienced planners are waiting on responses to the open letter they formulated recently that included plans for a lake to be created at Coonskin Park to serve as a back-up water supply for some 300,000 residents in parts of nine West Virginia counties for as long as 28 days.

Former South Putnam PSD General Manager Fred Stottlemyer and former planner Joe Mullins are proposing an 800-million-gallon, 65-acre lake to be built in a current ravine at the park, not far from the Elk River and not far from West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley Treatment Plant that serves customers in those counties.

(Read plan here)

“This is a very simple, straightforward solution to the problem we had in the past,” Mullins told MetroNews. “Quite frankly, it should have existed before the problem. We’re trying to play catch up here.”

The “problem” Mullins referred to is the Jan. 9 chemical spill and water emergency on the Elk that contaminated the water inside the WVAWC plant that forced a plant shutdown and water emergency. The plant currently has no back up supply.

Mullins said he contacted Stottlemyer with the Coonskin idea after he heard the water company discuss connecting the plant to the Kanawha River, which could cost about $100 million. The Coonskin Lake is estimated to cost between $25 million to $35 million. It would also provide recreation opportunities for park goers.

The plan details how the water would be pumped from the Elk, held in the lake and then pumped down an old railroad bed to the plant just three miles away if it were ever needed. Mullins said the lake could also serve as a water supply for nearby National Guard headquarters in case of an emergency.

Mullins said he and Stottlemyer have basically written an open letter to community leaders.

“Any of (community leaders) would be smart to embrace this, analyze it and if it stands to the test of criticism–move on it,” he said. “This needs to be analyzed, shot at by critics. Maybe somebody has a better idea.”

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  • Questions

    Great plan. Just don't ha any bats or salamanders. They are more important than the people.

  • GregG

    This won't work!!! It is to simple and not enough money is being spent. The more complex and the more money spent, the easier it is to fatten the pockets of the elite few.

  • Karl

    Stocked with smallmouth bass, blue gills, and bull headed minnows only. Catch and release. No live bait. Trolling motors. No paddle boats.

  • Curly Joe

    Sound concept, but would prefer to see a reservoir that would be the primary and permanent water supply for this area. Tributaries of either the Kanawha or Elk Rivers could keep it filled and there are numerous valleys along both rivers that would accommodate such a reservoir.

  • William Glasser

    Great idea !

  • RR Guy

    The railroad line on the south side of the Elk River has never been abandoned. It has not been used for years, but has not been abandoned. That is why there has never been a rail trail connecting downtown Charleston with Coonskin Park, as the railroad has never abandoned the line.
    Obtaining the necessary right of way is not going to be as easy as this open letter suggests.

  • ViennaGuy

    Good luck getting the environmentalists to agree with this.

    • Savage

      All trees have already been removed thanks to the renegade logger, there is no environmental argument. Speaking of environment, what do all the tree huggers say about global warming the last few cool days this summer.

      • ViennaGuy

        They'll blame the cool days on "climate change."

        Myself, I'm enjoying this cooler weather!