State approval signals return of historic lake

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 - 12:00am

Thanks to an expedited plan review by the state environmental agency, the Town of Hope Mills could see their landmark lake return within a year.

Once considered the centerpiece of the town by locals, Hope Mills Lake has been gone for years due to a dam failure in 2010. In the aftermath of the dam giving way, litigation ensued between the town and the company that had previously repaired the dam. When the dispute was finally resolved in 2015, the town received a settlement that will be used to pay for the design and construction of a new dam. The town is also planning to build an adjacent park once the lake is reestablished.

When the dam construction plans were submitted for approval, state engineers worked closely with the town to expedite the review process.  “We knew the lake was very important to the community,” said Bill Denton, an engineer with the state dam safety program. “Due to all the litigation, the lake was little more than a dried stream bed for a long time. We worked hard to expedite the review and help them get started on rebuilding the lake as soon as possible.”   

Hope Mills Lake has been around since the mid-19th century, first established to run a cotton mill during the state’s textile industry boom. Though the cotton mill is long forgotten, the lake will continue to serve as reminder of the town’s historic past.