Mecklenburg County is lifting its 30-year ban on public swimming at Lake Norman - possibly by the summer of 2015.
Currently only people with boats or lakefront property have access to swim. A series of drowning deaths in the 1970's prompted the swimming ban.
"Over the past few years there's been a lot of growing requests and need and recognition that 'Yes, we need to have public swimming on our lakes,'" says Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Deputy Director Michael Kirschman. "We have three major lakes - all in Mecklenburg County - with no public swimming facilities."
The town of Cornelius and the Lake Norman of Chamber of Commerce have been vocal advocates of public swimming access on the lake. Kirschman says the county has included $400,000 for a swimming beach at Ramsey Creek Park on its list of capital projects to be funded next year.
Assuming the county's financial situation continues to recover, Kirschman notes it will probably still take two years to get the permits and federal permission required for the beach.
Ultimately he says the county expects to add public swimming access on Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake, too.