Lewisville experiences enhance in outside actions, guests in summer season months

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Brothers Tommy and Michael Martinez bring their boat ashore at Lake Park. (Samantha Douty/ Community Impact Newspaper)

Lewisville Lake is a continuing economic force for the city and a tourist attraction in North Texas for millions of people annually.

Nearly six million people are expected to visit the lake in any given year, generating $60 million in revenue for the Lewisville area and local businesses, said James Kunke, the city’s community relations and tourism director.

The lake is also driving economic development projects and residential areas that continue to pop up near and on its shores, officials say.

“[Lewisville Lake is] a differentiator in North Texas,” said Lewisville Mayor TJ Gilmore. “It offers a tremendous amount of outdoor activities that you just couldn’t do without a waterfront promenade.”

The mayor said some people jokingly refer to the lake area as “The Hamptons of Dallas,” a reference to the affluent coastal cities that lie on the southeastern shore of Long Island, New York.

“Lewisville is a wonderful place to get away from it all,” said Gilmore. “I think that’s true. You have many great amenities here and you don’t have to travel far. It’s quite an amazing place.”

The city of Dallas uses the lake as a water source. It is also used for flood control and water conservation, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the lake.

“Even though it’s Dallas water, it has our name on it,” Gilmore said. “It’s a wonderful way to set the city apart and give a sense of place.”

history of the lake

The city of Dallas originally created the lake, formerly called Lake Dallas, in the 1920s, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The lake was created by the completion of the Lewisville Dam in 1955 and was later renamed Lewisville Lake, according to the Army Corps.

The lake was opened in 1956 for recreational purposes, Kunke said.

By 1958, marinas were being added and boat builders were appearing, soon becoming one of the city’s largest employers, Kunke said.

“A new Lewisville economy started to form because of the lake,” Kunke said. “It drew people from all over North Texas.”

This economy is affecting all sectors, including groceries, restaurants and retail, he said.

Marinas are also an important economic factor because they store boats on the lake, Kunke said. Two marinas are located on the Lewisville city limits – Eagle Point Marina, operated by the city, and Pier 121, privately operated by Safe Harbor.

Three other marinas are located outside of the city. All of them operate on leases through the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The US Army Corps of Engineers operates and maintains Lewisville Lake, lead natural resource specialist Nick Wilson said in an email.

“We ensure that the dam, facilities and other infrastructure are maintained and operated so that the reservoir’s missions serve the people of Texas,” he said.

Leases of facilities by the US Army Corps of Engineers are considered a real estate transaction, Wilson said. Funds generated from leasing activities are paid into the US Treasury Department.

tourism and recreation

When people visit Lewisville, many stay in hotels, which generates hotel occupancy tax revenue for the city and state, Kunke said.

The city’s Lake Park and Tower Bay Park serve as key entry points. The two parks are operated by the city.

In 2021, about 59,256 cars passed through tollbooths at Lake Park and Tower Bay Park, said Parks and Recreation Director Stacie Anaya. To enter either park, visitors must purchase a $10 day pass or $25-$65 annual pass, depending on their age and residency status. Lewisville residents can purchase an annual pass for $40, while non-residents pay $65.

In 2021, revenue from both park entries was $380,681. In 2020, the parks saw $421,324. Those proceeds go to the City of Lewisville’s general fund, Anaya said.

The parks, Anaya said, are great for people who don’t have boat slips but still want access to the lake. The parks also offer a range of other amenities such as: B. Camping.

Lewisville records between 11,000 and 14,000 RV sites each year, Anaya said. In 2020, the parks recorded 11,988 encampments and 13,679 in 2021.

“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot more people come out in the middle of the week,” she said. “This summer [in 2020]every weekend was like a holiday weekend.”

However, camping and park admissions fluctuate depending on the flooding, Anaya said. One of Lewisville Lake’s primary purposes is to handle flooding during years of heavier rainfall, meaning Lake Park tends to be submerged.

Many businesses, such as Sneaky Pete’s, take advantage of the lake’s offerings. Sneaky Pete’s is a restaurant on the shores of Lewisville Lake.

“We have people from all parts of the United States drawn to the lake,” said Lindsey Mehmeti, the restaurant’s operations manager. “Summer is our busiest season with the warmer weather and sea attraction. It begins with Memorial Day weekend. families, boaters [and] Groups all come out in the summer.”

During the off-season, Sneaky Pete’s relies on its banquet facilities and bookings for private events, Mehmeti said.

Economic development

Developments continue to be built along and around the lake due to the natural amenities it offers. ••On the east side of I-35E is a project called The Lake District that is in negotiations with the Army Corps of Engineers for Phase 1, which will include the master plan for the area, said Marichelle Samples, Lewisville economic development director.

This process will take 18 to 24 months and requires approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

On the west side of I-35E, the Northern Gateway development is in the works after city council approval in 2021, said Christina Williams, Lewisville economic development manager.

This mixed-use project includes the construction of more than 1,000 residential units, she said.

“It’s definitely a very exciting project,” Williams said.

Economic development is a big part of the lake, Samples said. Tourism, recreation and development must go hand in hand.

“Economic development is intertwined with everything that’s going on in this area,” she said.