HISTORY OF LAKE VENTURA
“Lake Ventura” is the only known residential island, lake development in the Midwest. It was begun in 1972 originally as a three-lake, 30-lot concept in the minds of Dean Arps, Gene Broderson, Bruce Gocken, Clayton Kock, George Larson, Don Peterson, Don Sawyer, Sr., Don Schenzel, Earl Schwanke, Don Sorenson, and Marlin Young. The decision was made to level the area, create an island to build on and establish the 100+ lots we see today.
Lake Ventura is a man-made lake, which was originally constructed as a sand and gravel pit in 1942 by Lyman Richie Gravel. In 1972, the lake and associated property were sold and Sunset Development Co., Inc. was formed. The area originally looked much like what we can view directly east of the entrance area. The north bank area has had hundreds of trees planted by the developers, scout volunteers and the residents themselves. Many have been lost to drought and a railroad fire.
Lake Ventura has steep banks and quick changes in elevation in many areas. Average depth of lake is 16.3 feet and maximum is 25 feet, and sand is the dominant substrate throughout the lake basin. Primary source of water in Lake Ventura is groundwater. Originally connected by a ditch to the river and with a creek running almost diagonally through the area, many native fish, including the Spoonbill, inhabit the man-made lake, which is spring-fed and thought to be no more than 27 feet deep. Efforts are under way to introduce more game fish
Lake Ventura has a surface area of 106 acres based on a Dodge County Soil Conservation Survey aerial photograph, in 1987. Lake Ventura holds @ 1072 acre-feet of water.
Fishing, safe boating, skiing, swimming and just plain being away from ‘it all’ make Lake Ventura a truly unique and terrific place to “enjoy the good life”.
The original developers of Lake Ventura were:
Don Sawyer, Sr.
It was started in the spring of 1972 and took a little over a year for the lot sales.
- 1972 developers purchased 3 lakes from Lyman Richie Gravel and formed Sunset Development Co., Inc.
- Took the gravel and pumped 3 small lakes and made into one lake.
- Then added lake to East end and added a channel.
- A bridge came later and the lake became an open circle with the island.
Lake development was done in 3 phases:
- 1972 Lake Ventura Sub-Division
- 1973 Lake Ventura Sub-Division 1st Addition
- 1974 East End
People’s Gas Co. (1.5 miles away), not believing in development (cost prohibitive), wanted us to pay complete installation. Developers did not want unsightly propane tanks or refill trucks, and had safety concerns regarding one way in and out of the development. The Department of Utilities proposed contract on July 19, 1972. Contract signed on August 30, 1972 establishing all electric homes. Developers established the covenants, etc. Ray Simmons, Attorney-at-Law, reviewed and approved covenants. Covenants 1-17 were adopted August 2, 1972. Covenants 2l and 22 were adopted September 24, 1973. (Covenants adopted for benefit of community beautification, safety, etc.)
Sunset Development homeowners first meeting was held on September 26, 1973. On April 9, 1976, a legal meeting was called and the lake board was formed (100% attendance). Their first official meeting was held May 7, 1976. The covenants were reviewed one-by-one and explained to the homeowners.
The developers decided to turn the government of the covenants and the rules and regulations over to the people so THEY could be in control of the final development of the area, such as beautification, improvements, etc. (Sunset Development was dissolved in 1987).
The Association is comprised of over 100 residences, with the majority of the houses located on the Island in the middle of the lake. Potable water is obtained from a deep well. Pump house was built April 13, 1981. From 1973 through 1989, sanitary waste was treated by a self-contained pre-treatment facility and leach field. In 1989, the treatment facility was upgraded to meet state regulations for effluent discharge to the Platte River.
The following committees and responsibilities were established and are in effect:
- Improvement: planting of trees, shrubs, and flowers for beautification of common grounds; including, picnic area/table/benches. Work closely with SID to maintain the area. Also, responsible for holiday decorating and community cleanup.
- Boat: inspection of boats, (registration, horsepower, rules and regulations); boat dock maintenance.
- Party: plan and take care of expenses of all get-togethers.
- Lake Management/Fish: stocking of fish, fish growth, and habitat; lake treatment and algae control; and lake cleanup.
- Architectural: review plans for new building and improvements, recommend Board approval of said building and improvement plans.
Improvements to date: tennis court/basketball court: planting of trees, shrubs, flowers: regular manicure of common grounds: stocking of fish and habitat: street lights and decorative lights: sprinkler systems: lake treatment: duck and bird houses: picnic area/tables/benches: boat dock-asphalt court: own sewer and water: paved streets: water fountain:
Lake Ventura is a multiple-use lake. Lake-associated activities include: swimming, leisure boating, water skiing, fishing, and just plain being away from it-all makes Lake Ventura a truly unique and terrific place to “enjoy the good life!”
An aerial photo taken in late 1974 was turned into a postcard