By Mayor Carol Pritchett
June 10, 2022
The Memorial Day weekend ushered in the new summer season in Lake Lure. For many, that weekend represents the unofficial beginning of the summer season, but for the family members of fallen soldiers, Memorial Day holds a much deeper meaning. The Town of Lake Lure makes time every year to honor and remember these brave soldiers and their family members. We were pleased that over 150 citizens joined us this year to acknowledge the dedication and ultimate sacrifices made by so many for our freedoms. Thank you for ensuring that future generations will understand the true meaning of Memorial Day and will hold our service men and women in the highest esteem.
Moving into June, the Town welcomed our new Town Manager Hank Perkins. We are very pleased to have hired a true professional with years of experience serving as a Town Manager. Mr. Perkins has moved to our area from Lewisville, NC where he served as the Town Manager since 2012. We look forward to everyone meeting him at a community drop-in on 6/30/22 at Lake Lure Municipal Hall.
As we welcome Mr. Perkins, we must say thank you and farewell to our very dedicated Town Finance Director Sam Karr. Mr. Karr has served the Town of Lake Lure and our citizens for 30 impeccable years. He has been an asset to our organization and he will be greatly missed. Mr. Karr has been training his successor Mr. Steven Ford who will serve as the incoming Finance Director following Mr. Karr’s retirement in June. Mr. Karr and Mr. Ford have worked together with Town Council and department heads to pass the 2022-2023 budget which does not include a tax increase for property owners.
Your Town Council remains focused on our infrastructure priorities. We are making progress and continue to prepare for replacement of our Dam and Sewer System. The Town has been able to take advantage of funding from the state of North Carolina to support both projects with $16 million for the Dam replacement project and $12 million for the Sewer System replacement, in addition to a $12.5 million low interest loan for the Sewer System replacement from the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) Division of Water.
In order to proceed with this critical work, we must lower the lake this winter. Our goal is to begin the lake drawdown after the holidays in January 2023. We are currently utilizing hydraulic dredging to remove the silt from the lake. The Town budgeted $1 million for dredging in 2022-2023 which includes a $750,000 grant through the NC DEQ Water Resource Development Program. Hydraulic dredging is expected to continue until the lake drawdown. We anticipate lowering the lake by 12 feet which will allow specific tasks to be completed. The lake drawdown also gives property owners the opportunity to restore seawalls and boathouses. Please stay tuned to Town News at http://www.townoflakelure.com for updates on the 2023 lake drawdown.
The Town is embarking upon a phased rehabilitation and replacement approach to the Sewer System replacement that maintains sewer service while improving system performance. The design and implementation of the new state-of-the-art engineering solution is challenging because the new system remains in the lake. Specifically, the new collection system will be installed in the backshore, which is the land exposed during lake drawdown periods. Construction is anticipated to progress in phases over the next ten years. Phase one is expected to begin in the fall of 2023. Property owners will be personally contacted regarding their respective phase of the project.
The Town is working closely with several divisions within the NC Department of Environmental Quality. We have hired Labella Associates, a firm specializing in wastewater infrastructure, to implement a sequential engineering solution that leverages modern sewage collection and treatment technology.
Simultaneously, we are continuing to move forward with plans for the replacement of the Lake Lure Dam. The Town has contracted with Schnabel Engineering to develop a conceptual design of the replacement dam. The projected location of the replacement dam is downstream from the existing dam and in a parallel location. Schnabel Engineering has just completed the design for the reservoir drain and the Town is working through the procurement process to purchase the reservoir drain. Both of these design projects have been partially funded through FEMA grants with matching funds through the Town’s Dam Reserve Fund. Next steps for this project focus on the detailed design of the replacement dam. We will be applying for additional FEMA grants to help support this work.
I thank you all for your continued support of the work of the Town as we seek to preserve our beloved Lake Lure for future generations.