City leaders work to gather $12 million for dam repair project

Leaders seek more funding to rebuild Boiling Spring Lakes
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 3:46 PM EST
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BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (WECT) - For years, residents in Boiling Spring Lakes have wondered when the work will begin to repair the dam and bring water back to dried-up lakefronts

Right now, most of the work is being done in places like City Hall.

“When we came into office in December, our main goal was to get these dams built back as fast as possible, get the money flowing in here, and this board and myself and the new city manager David Andrews have been nonstop,” said Mayor Jeff Winecoff.

There are multiple dams needing repair to bring water back to the city’s lake and leaders say it will cost somewhere between $40 million and $50 million to pull it off.

Winecoff and the other staff members’ work seems to be paying off. The state will also make a major contribution, offering $14 million to work on the repairs. Still, it’s far from enough. The city is $12 million short and the federal government hasn’t been much help.

“It’s been a constant battle just trying to get any kind of federal response from anybody,” said Winecoff. “It’s just like we’ve been abandoned.”

That’s why Winecoff is asking the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners for $3 million over the next two years.

“I think all five of us absolutely agree that we would love to help,” said Commissioner Mike Forte, vice chairman and representative for District 4. “It’s just a matter of how much.”

Forte says this may be the largest funding request the county has seen from a municipality. Being a Boiling Spring Lakes resident, he understands the concern.

“It affects my entire community, where I live,” said Forte. “I’m concerned for my neighbors and their property values. I don’t think anybody thought it would take this long.”

This isn’t just a matter of property values, though. While homeowners miss their lakefront, Mayor Winecoff is concerned about traffic.

Since Alton Lennon Drive closed nearly four years ago, that traffic has been rerouted to other areas, including past two schools along Highway 87. Winecoff says that’s just an accident waiting to happen.

As leaders work to pull together funding, the project could move forward by this summer. I’m told that will depend on when FEMA gives the green light.

“They decided to do an environmental assessment, which put the project nine months further out,” said Mayor Winecoff. “Hopefully, by June we will have their approval to be able to start this by sometime late in the year after getting the engineering and the contractors together, we’ll be able to start.”

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