Closed Tempe Town Lake rocks rowing clubs practice plans

The rowing community has no place to practice after the city closed Tempe Town Lake due to the rising Salt River continuing to dump debris in the waters.
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 9:51 PM MST
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TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A lake once full of people having fun was filled with floating logs, sticks, and brush over the weekend. “We’ve never seen the water like this, I’ve never seen the water like this,” said Reggie Alvey, president of the Rio Salado rowing club.

The City of Tempe closed Tempe Town Lake as the rising Salt River continued to dump debris in the waters. They stated it was unsafe to venture out on. The city had even taken steps to close off boat launching points and have signs warning people that the lake is closed.

Only the birds were seen braving the waters over the weekend. However, this closure caused problems for those who use it, like the Rio Salado rowing club. “If the city hadn’t shut us down we’d be out on the water,” said Alvey.

Instead of being out on the water, Alvey spent the weekend checking his equipment. “We had some discussion with our competitive teams and the club on what we are doing and everyone is still optimistic it won’t be as long as it seems but it seems it will be a while.” They’ve dealt with lake closures before but never an indefinite one. However, right now is a crucial time as competition season is approaching. “It’s really unfortunate for dragon boat they did have a competition this weekend but they had to cancel, that’s unfortunate for them.”

Alvey Showed Arizona’s Family some of the equipment they use on land to stay in shape, but nothing compares to being on the water. “Ultimately, you’d like to be training on the water. Rowing is what we do to race. Anytime you can be out on the water that’s the best place to be if we have to switch, we can do that.”

While the Salt River continues to rage on, Alvey is hopeful that the lake waters will calm down and he can enjoy his favorite sport again. “Everybody is ready to hop on ergs and train that way until we can get back on the water.”

The City of Tempe said they’re monitoring the lake every day, but as it stands, there’s no set date on when the lake will reopen for recreational use.