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Hope Mills Gets More Money for Dam

July 22, 2008

By Tina Ray, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.

Jul. 22–HOPE MILLS — The town of Hope Mills learned Monday that the state of North Carolina continues to support its effort to rebuild Hope Mills Lake.

Mayor Eddie Dees announced at Monday night’s Board of Commissioners meeting that the state has awarded $1,071,750 toward the lake’s restoration.

Dees said the Division of Emergency Management approved a request made by town officials in May for additional funding for the project.

Hope Mills Lake drained in 2003 after heavy rains caused an earthen dam to breach.

“Through all of the hard work and criticism and controversy, there has been one group, one organization who has backed us and supported us and believed in us,” Dees said. “Today, the state of North Carolina came forward to help us again.”

Future generations will benefit from the lake’s restoration “long after most of us are gone,” he said.

Under a disaster relief declaration by Gov. Mike Easley, the state agreed in August 2003, just three months after the initial dam break, to cover 75 percent of the cost of restoration.

The cost at that time would have been $6.6 million, with the state contributing $4.9 million. With the rising costs of concrete and steel, the costs to restore the lake has risen to $9.9 million.

With the $1.07 million announced Monday night, the state’s total contribution to the lake’s restoration totals more than $8.1 million.

The board voted unanimously to approve a protection system for the dam-spillway project. A resistant resin used to control surface debris will be placed between the fingers of the spillway, while buoys will be placed from the spillway to the earthen dam. The cost will be more than $34,000, plus an additional $750 to place buoys around the swimming area.

Officials had raised concerns at previous board meetings about the likelihood of boaters going over the spillway and any liability it would pose for the town. They also had concerns about the possibility of logs going over the spillway.

“I don’t think you can protect against stupidity,” said Gordon Rose of McKim & Creed, the company that designed the dam-spillway.

Staff writer Tina Ray can be reached at rayt@fayobserver.com or 426-7787.

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