By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

Portions of Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area are reopened and are good as new, officials said Wednesday.

"It looks almost exactly the same," Koy Grant said about equipment and facilities.

Grant, public relations coordinator for Fort Hood Morale, Welfare and Recreation; said as long as the weather stays sunny and warm, she expects the park's use to increase.

Heavy rains during the summer caused local lake levels to rise dramatically and damage park amenities. There are several things in the park available for use or rent now that the water has receded and repairs have been made.

The cottages, cottage RV park, horse ranch, mountain bike trails, paintball course, Deer RV Park, boat marina, fishing dock and carp boat ramp are now available for use.

The following pavilions are also available: Lakeview, Cedar Grove, Sunnyside, Like Oak, Red Oak, Pin Oak and BLORA Ranch.

All playgrounds, covered family units, camping sites and volleyball courts located outside the flood-damaged area are available for use. Closed activities are clearly marked and roped off, according to a news release from MWR.

Seven restroom buildings, three party pavilions, more than 90 covered picnic units, nine playground sites, nine miles of asphalt roads and several marina dock facilities were damaged by floodwaters during the summer, the news release stated.

"The rebuilding of damaged BLORA facilities has already begun and many of the minor repair requirements have been completed," Mike Mennor, director of outdoor recreation for BLORA, said in the news release. "Contracts on major repair requirements have been initiated and are in the process of being awarded."

The estimated damage totals $1.3 million, and the BLORA staff has projected three to four months to complete all repairs.

Admission to BLORA is free for soldiers and their families. The cost of day use of the park is $4 per car for civilians and $3 per car for Defense Department employees.

Also at BLORA is the annual Nature in Lights display, open to the public for a $5 per car admission.

For more information, call BLORA at (254) 287-2523.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at ksmith@kdhnews. com or call (254) 501-7550

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