Lake Springfield is a 4,260 acre (17.2 km²) reservoir located in the city of Springfield, Illinois, southeast of downtown. It is 560 feet (171 m) above sea level. It was formed in 1931-1935 by building Spaulding Dam across Sugar Creek, a tributary of the Sangamon River.
The lake was created, at a cost of $2.5 million in 1930s $USD, as a source of water for Springfield and to provide coolant for the City Water, Light & Power coal-fired electrical generating plant. It has also served as a focus of local recreation. Owners of high-powered motor boats enjoy the lack of a power limit on much of the lake, and the lake is known for warm-water fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, blue catfish, flathead catfish, and crappie.
Lake Springfield can be seen from Interstate 55. The limited-access highway crosses the lake on two bridges between mileposts 88 and 89. The lake is accessible from exit 88 (East Lake Shore Drive), exit 90 (Toronto Road), and exit 94 (Stevenson Drive).
Lake Springfield is close to the campus of the University of Illinois at Springfield. It also borders Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden, a local arboretum, and the Henson Robinson Zoo. Lake Park, just north of the zoo, contains preserved ruts of the Edwards Trace pioneer trail; a historical marker was posted near the trace in 2002.
Lake Springfield tributaries include Lick Creek and Sugar Creek. Water discharged from these watercourses into Lake Springfield fluctuates with the seasons and with changes in local precipitation, and City Water, Light & Power has asked for permission to build a buffer lake, Hunter Lake, nearby.
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