Hope Mills Dam could be repaired soon


Problems with the dam on Little Rockfish Creek, which helped to create Hope Mills Lake, have stretched for decades.

Hope Mills Lake used to be the town's center of attraction for boating, fishing, and just having fun.

Now, the lake is just a stream passing through the concrete spillway after a $6 million replacement dam gave way less than two years after it was built.

Helen Jensen owns a house on the lake. She's taken to the street demanding the dam be fixed, not just for her family but for others as well.

"I've heard from a lot of people that don't live in Hope Mills that the only reason they come down here on the 4th of July is to see the fireworks all over the lake because they're the best fireworks in town," said Jensen.

A section of the dam has been cut away to redirect the water while repairs get underway. Right now, there is no water in the lake. Some homeowners have boat docks that go nowhere.

Lisa Waring is one of them. She's had a house on the lake for ten years. She was there when the original earthen dam broke during a storm in 2003, and when its massive $6 million concrete replacement dam failed in 2010.

Town leaders said repairs will now cost about $8 million, which is $1.5 million more than it cost to build the replacement dam. Homeowners want to know who's going to foot that bill.

"We'd like to know who's going to pay for it," said Waring. "We really would. We know we shouldn't be paying for it. We're the taxpayers. We paid to have the dam built one time and it didn't work after it failed 15 months later on a sunny day in the middle of a drought, and so we just know it's not going to be us."

Michael Mitchell owns a home on the lake and is the town's mayor pro-tem.

"We still believe that there will not be any cost to our tax payers or to our town and the most of the original contractors want to make things right," said Mitchell.

The town has its legal team pressuring the company that built the dam and the one that designed it to make and pay for repairs. However, no one can guarantee when the work will begin.

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