Clinging to Life

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A 13-year-old boy is on life support after he nearly drowned in Lake Lansing Thursday afternoon.

No lifeguard was on duty at the lake because county commissioners recently voted to remove lifeguards to help save money. Of the three Ingham County parks with lakes, two have lifeguards.

Acting Ingham County Parks Manager, Willis Bennett, said the two lakes with lifeguards - Hawk Island and Burchfield Park - used to be gravel pits. He said they have lifeguards because they are much deeper than Lake Lansing and the drowning risk is greater.

Bennett estimated Lake Lansing to be 470 acres. He said even though the other two lakes aren't much bigger than 35 acres combined, Lake Lansing is the least dangerous because of its depth. All of the three lakes have designated swimming areas that are each about 500 feet by 250 feet.

County Commissioner Mark Grebner said the board voted 7 to 6 to impose parking fees on people who drive their cars to the park on busy days. The fees could have helped save money and could have kept lifeguards at the park. He said the parks never instituted the fee because the vote was so close, but it is likely the issue will come up again.

One Lake Lansing neighbor, Lou Livingston, said he'd be willing to pay a fee in exchange for the return of the lifeguards.