County approves $3 million help fund Boiling Spring Lakes dam restoration

The county will provide $750,000 to the city in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027.
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:56 PM EDT
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BOILING SPRING LAKES, N.C. (WECT) - The City of Boiling Spring Lakes is one step closer to having its lakefront properties restored to their former glory as the county approves a request for $3 million dollars to help fund the project.

The county will provide the $3 million via $750,000 each year to the city in 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027. Commissioners also passed the 2022-2023 county budget at the meeting Monday evening.

“I was kind of devastated when we lost the lake,” said lakefront property owner Terry Dail. “I thought for sure by now we’d have water again.”

In 2018, Hurricane Florence washed out three dams, leaving lakebeds dry.

“We really miss it,” said Dail. “I used to come out here every morning and sit out on my dock and eat breakfast out here and feed the fish, feed my alligator.”

There are no fish or gators at the end of his dock, today. Instead, the dry lakebed looks more like a growing forest and boats like Dail’s Ski Supreme are gathering dust.

“We used the lake a lot. My family waterskied,” said Dail. “We started as soon as we moved here. We skied here all year long.”

That’s not all Dail stands to lose. Since moving here five years ago, he’s welcomed several visitors hoping to stop by to see a variety of rare plants in his backyard. Pitcher plants, venus fly traps and sundew all grow near his dock -- thriving off the moist soil.

“Just before the lake lost all the water, the University of North Carolina sent a crew here and they counted all of my plants,” said Dail. “I had 1,500 Venus fly traps, 5000 pitcher plants and about 500 sundew plants.”

Dail says those numbers have changed drastically since the lake dried up. He estimates 500 have died in a matter of four years.

Since 2018, city has been on a mission to rebuild the dams and repair Alton Lennon Road, which also washed out in the storm. It’s not an easy feat, though, as it will cost about $52 million to accomplish.

FEMA is only willing to cover less than half the costs. The state allocated $14 million in its recently passed budget. The city might finance about $15 million through raised property taxes -- but the remainder of the bill, leaders hope, the county will cover.

Brunswick County Commissioner Mike Forte lives in Boiling Spring Lakes. He says he’s confident the board will vote in favor of funding part of the project at their meeting Monday night.

“This will not be us writing a check for $3 million to the city of Boiling Spring Lakes,” said Forte. “This will be contingent upon them getting their funding in place. We’ll give them $750,000 a year over a 4-year period to pay back their funding.”

Back in March, Mayor Jeff Winecoff asked the county to consider allocating $3 million for the city over the next two years.

“I feel strongly that they will help our City and residents with the needed funding,” said Winecoff. “They have a hard job deciding how to fund their budget and I would like to thank them for the consideration of our request.”

It’s a small contribution to cover the $52 million price tag but its a step in the right direction. Dail, now in his 70s, only hopes he can one day make memories on the water with his family again.

“I sure hope they’re serious about getting it fixed,” said Dail. “It’s been too long already.”

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