Red Rock Friends set for pond fund quest

       Fundraising sales points are taking shape for the Friends of Red Rock Canyon in its continuing quest to “save the pond” at the 789-acre city-owned Westside open space.
       Having garnered just over $10,000 to date, the Friends hope to raise about another $115,000 before the end of this year, according to President Karl Klepfer.
       The exact amount remains elusive because of engineering issues related to water retention that the city might have to fund in any case. But City Parks supports the pond-filling concept, as stated in the recently finalized master plan update for Red Rock Canyon.
       Actually, there are two ponds, the upper one near the pavilion off the Red Rock Canyon Trail, which would be given a permanent supply of water, and the lower one, which would continue to take its overflow.
       Both ponds were built and maintained by the Bock family during their roughly 80 years on the property. According to local historian Don Ellis, John G. Bock, a cowboy and World War I veteran who bought the property a piece at a time, built eight dams in all, which continue to help control its storm drainage.
       As Ellis writes in an article in the most recent Red Rock Rag (the Friends' newsletter), “While the immediate problem is to fill this one pond, we might also recognize that the entire array of dams is a system which catches storm water and reduces storm water run-off into Fountain Creek. Thus, Red Rock Canyon's dams help the city meet its obligation to avoid downstream flooding.”
       In short, Klepfer pointed out, those ponds “keep water from coming into Fountain Creek as a raging torrent. Holding water is a good thing. The property has provided a filter that slows the water when it comes out of the mountains.”
       That is one of the selling points that could be used in the upcoming fundraising effort. Another argument is that having water in at least the two pavilion-area ponds would mean a water resource in the event of fire, Klepfer said. Yet another is the benefit to wildlife.
       The first part of the pond fundraising was done through the IndyGive campaign that ended Dec. 31. “That was really great, but I'd like people to understand it was just a beginning,” Klepfer said.
       He has not set an exact timetable for the fundraising going forward, but is hoping the campaign can be concluded by October. In addition to welcoming local support, he plans to seek backing from national entities, such as the Audobon Society, which might look kindly on ponds in the context of migrating birds.
       Much of the pond-related expense would be for tapping into a city water main along Highway 24 and installing a pipe through which water could be pumped to the upper pond. Upgrades are also needed to both ponds, City Parks officials have said.
       Fed by stormwater runoff, both ponds had ample amounts of water when the city bought Red Rock from the Bocks in 2003, but dry years since then have drained them significantly.

Westside Pioneer article