The Athens Municipal Water Authority, Friday, approved a joint agreement with the City of Athens to create a public swim area on Lake Athens.
The beach is expected to be ready for swimmers in the spring, AMWA Executive Director Ed Gatlin said.
"We've already got the shoreline clear," Gatlin said.
A beach would open up use of the lake to the public who now are pretty much limited to boating. The plan is the build the beach near the marina, where it will be accessible to parking and restroom facilities.
The Athens Police Department and the AMWA police will patrol the area, for safety. Signs will be posted with rules and regulations for using the area.
"We will stripe that parking lot and control the entrances and exits, so they're identified," Gatlin said.
At first there won't be any umbrellas and picnic tables set up, but they could come later.
"Both parties agree that if at any time this is devaluing our property or becomes a problem we'll shut it down," Gatlin said.
They could have obtained funding from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to help pay for it, but that would require a 20 year commitment.
"If it's really good, we may go back some time and try to get a grant," Gatlin said.
The city maintenance department will take care of keeping the restrooms clean while AMWA will keep the area mowed and free of vegetation. AMWA has already begun spraying the area to get it ready.
The city and AMWA will split the cost of building a parking area, estimated at about $30,000.
The City Council discussed the matter on June 28 in and directed City Manager Elizabeth Borstad to proceed to work with AMWA to put the plan in place.