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John Knox Village Creates New Homes for Fishing Lake Inhabitants

John Knox Village’s hospitality includes all creatures, great and small.

Although it looks like a series of modern art sculptures were installed on the ice of the John Knox Village fishing lake, the assorted structures serve a more useful purpose – as homes and playgrounds for fish.

John Knox Village’s grounds team created the habitats and placed them in various locations throughout the frozen lake so they will sink into desired locations when the ice melts. 

“We work hard to provide a hospitable and welcoming community for our residents and guests, and this project is just an extension of our efforts,” said Eric Scott, director of operations and development.

The private lake is located on the campus of John Knox Village, a life plan community in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It has been a source of beauty and recreation for John Knox Village residents and guests since it was built in the early 1970s. The lake is regularly restocked with fish for the residents who enjoy fishing.

Last summer, residents began commenting on the lack of large fish. Staff discovered (and fixed) an overflow drain that enabled sizeable fish to exit the lake and swim to an overflow pond. What’s more, aerial views showed the lake didn’t have enough fish habitats, which inspired the grounds team to find a sustainable solution.

“You can buy these fish habitats for a couple of hundred dollars each, but we decided to re-purpose leftover materials and, in essence, kill two birds with one stone,” Scott said.

The grounds team created multiple versions of three different types of structures, all made from fish-friendly scrap and recycled materials, such as natural wood from trees on campus, five-gallon buckets and oak pallets.

“Our hope is, now that our overflow drain issue has been fixed, the new habitats will help our fish populations flourish and thrive,” Scott said.

Later this spring, the lake will be restocked with different sizes of bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish and feeder fish. In addition, grass carp are being added to the lake to eat algae. Finally, John Knox Village also is working with a local company that will provide monthly aquatic plant management services, which will further enhance conditions in the fishing lake.