Tavares city leaders want beach along Lake Dora

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TAVARES, Fla. - Officials in Tavares are pushing for what could be a very expensive addition to the city's new seaplane base.

Officials want to excavate hundreds of yards of shoreline to uncover a hidden beach along Lake Dora.

The beach there disappeared decades ago, but officials say it's down there, they just have to remove a lot of vegetation to get to it.

The weeds are a complaint that most seaplane pilots have of the lake.

"Deep muck, weeds," said pilot Dan Nickens. "You don't know what you're going to step out on."

It has its hazards. The Lake Dora shoreline is not the place for a stroll.

It isn't a spot beachgoers would want to wade in as there are also an abundance of snakes along the lake.

But city leaders are convinced that underneath all the mess is a sandy beach."

"That would be the ultimate goal. We scrape down, and it's there," said John Drury, city administrator.

Drury has seen some of the old photos and in the 1940s, most nearby lakes had beaches.

"We'd like to see the entire waterfront addressed," he said.

To do so, officials want to dig out the shore, creating a sandy parking place for visitors who arrive by air or sea.

But the city has to convince the state Department of Environmental Protection to allow it, and there's no estimate on how much it could cost.

But local taxpayer Ken Lang said he'll support it.

"It would even look nicer if it was all cleared out here," Lang said. "And the people could bring their boats and seaplanes in right here."

"It makes it a lot more fun for people to come in," said Nickens. "And the more people who come in, the more who visit the restaurants and hotels. It's good for business."

The meeting with the DEP is coming up this month.