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Residents question possible sale of Cole Co. lake property

A lake inherited by Mid-Missouri officials over five years ago could be getting a new owner.

Cole County leaders took over Renns Lake in 2009 when the dam failed and the lake’s owner couldn’t afford to fix the issue.

County commissioners told ABC 17 News they’re discussing putting the property up for sale, but there area a lot of questions about what could happen to the old lake that is now overgrown with trees standing as tall as 15 feet.

Commissioners said the time is right to liquidate county owned property that they just don’t need and can’t afford.

It’s easy to see why the Renns Lake property is a cost to the county.

The lake is basically a swamp today, too wet for county tractors to mow and maintain, and now trees have naturally started growing along a ditch that has channeled through the old lake.

The county wanted to sell it to the homeowners, but officials said they couldn’t get an agreement together.

With no zoning in the county, that could leave it open for industry, but commissioners said they’re hoping to keep that from happening.

“Possibly we could create some restrictions in the sale to limit what could be built there. If someone were to purchase that and wanted to build new homes or something residential,” said western district commissioner Kris Scheperle.

Residents said they’re hoping for some kind of restrictions on the sale.

They said a new owner might be better than the current one because the property smells bad, and mosquitoes are rampant.

Homeowners ABC 17 talked to had mixed reactions.

“I’m upset because the county took over and it was their responsibility to maintain it, and now that it’s grown this bad, now they want to sell!? Who wants to buy it when it looks like this,” said Cynthia White, a resident in the area.

The county disputes that claim of responsibility, saying they inherited the lake in an emergency situation to save homes and businesses when the dam was about to fail.

Right now, there is no firm date of when a sale might take place.

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