Wednesday, December 6, 2023

State commission OKs bonds to rebuild BSL dams

Pine Lake in Boiling Spring Lakes remains empty, and will likely remain empty for years as the city waits for federal assistance. (Port City Daily photo | Mark Darrough)
Pine Lake sitting empty in 2018. (file photo)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — A local city known for its lakes expects to get them back soon.

Boiling Springs Lakes suffered damage to four dams after Hurricane Florence washed through the area in 2018, but the state Local Government Commission signed off on $20 million in bonds to help pay for their repairs on Tuesday.

“It’s really the city’s identity. It’s in our name. It’s our heritage,” City Manager Gordon Hargrove said of the now dry lakes and the need to rebuild Sanford Dam, Patricia Lake Upper Dam, Pine Lake Dam and North Lake Dam, and repair Dam Road. “Like most coastal communities, we’re at the edge of the earth, therefore we all have stormwater issues. So reimpounding these dams will help us control our stormwater,” Hargrove said. The dam levels will be sequenced so they will be able to control lake levels for future severe weather events.

Many residents have a financial stake in having the lakes restored, especially on home properties that ring the lake borders.

Hargrove said the lakes also drive the local sales economy, with people stocking up on gas and everything else they need to visit locally.

“Without water in those lakes those property values aren’t as high as they should be because … they’re not waterfront homes anymore,” Hargrove said.

“Our wish would be that no city or county ever suffers economic, environmental, transportation or infrastructure damage,” State Treasurer Dale Folwell said. “But North Carolina is a unique state in many ways, including its geography and weather. Hurricanes and tropical storms can have devastating effects in eastern counties, snowstorms and mudslides can cause damage in western counties and flooding is possible everywhere. When local governments need to rebuild, the Local Government Commission is always ready and willing to do its part to assist.

Voters approved the bonds by referendum on Nov. 8. Total cost of the project is estimated at nearly $57 million, with other funds coming from a Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement, Department of Defense grant, appropriations from the General Assembly and Brunswick County.


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