Whenever Luther Floore, 77, looks out across Prospect Lake, the memories come flooding back. He remembers walking the shores with his wife Shirley, who died in 1998. Together they'd admire black and white children playing together and think they'd found the best city on earth.
But now when Floore looks out over the barren, cracked crater the lake has become over the last year, he says the city has let him down. "The city was neglectful in the past because this lake should never be like this."
In 2002, Colorado Springs turned off the tap for the 51-acre man-made lake because of the drought. The lake began to drain.
Enter Floore. Since his wife's death, he has become somewhat of a fixture at city council meetings, arriving every other Tuesday to chide the elected officials in his gentle way. "I see things," he said, "things I think are wrong or think should be corrected, and I bring it up." Perennial topics for Luther include asking for more racial diversity in the city's Fire Department and, of course, the increasingly sorry state of Prospect Lake.
Last month Mayor Lionel Rivera rewarded Floore for his efforts, naming him community liaison for Prospect Lake. "My plan is to check on the progress in restoring this lake," Floore said.
For the city's part, workers have dried out the lake in preparation for a new synthetic liner that will be installed. Once the liner is in place, the lake will be refilled later this year. And if that doesn't happen? Floore says he'll raise a ruckus on national TV until the job is done.
"While I'm still on this side of the earth," he said. "This lake means a great deal to me."
-- Dan Wilcock
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