North Texas

Popular Lake in Ellis County Restricts Entrance to Residents, Turns Outside Visitors Away

Officials asked for proof of city residency for entry to Waxahachie Lake

A popular lake in Ellis County will reopen to the public at 6 p.m. on July 4 after being restricted to just residents during the daytime.

However, more restrictions are on the way.

Several cars rolled up to the entrance to Waxahachie Lake for their Fourth of July celebrations only to be turned away for not living in the city.

There are posted signs and a large sign explaining restrictions to the popular lake.

Waxahachie police and city workers were stationed at each public entrance asking each person who tried to enter the park whether they were Waxahachie residents and if they could provide proof of city residency, including ID and a water bill.

The city council recently voted to restrict access to its lake in an effort to try to ease "extreme overcrowding."

Parking was restricted to just residents on June 30, July 1, July 4, July 7, and July 8 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

City officials said overcrowding was a big problem for years, in part, because the city-owned lake is free to access.

This attracts people from around North Texas.

Many visitors have reportedly parked in the street, potentially blocking first responders from being able to drive through.

Littering has also been a big concern.

Pat Barrett owns What's S.U.P. + Kayaks on Lake Waxahachie. This is her third season on the lake.

Fourth of July is typically a great day for business, she said. But the restrictions from the past weekend took a toll on her bottom-line.

"The park stayed clean alright," she said. "But there's nobody at the lake. Last Saturday there was seven cars in the parking lot and Sunday there was 11 and I made $4."

Barrett said most of her business comes from those visiting from outside Waxahachie.

She said the city should reconsider the restrictions, instead issuing permits, charging admission or perhaps reserving a certain number of parking spots for residents.

It is not clear if the restrictions will become a permanent solution to what the city considers an overcrowding problem on Lake Waxahachie.

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