HOPE MILLS, N.C. — A dam washed out by flooding last year is close to getting a facelift. The Hope Mills dam is a town treasure, and now there is almost enough money to fix it.
These days, Hope Mills Lake looks more like a construction site than the town's centerpiece.
"It's depressing. It's very depressing. You look out and see grass and shrubs instead of the water," resident Richard Ringled said. "We just like to see it started, see some bulldozers out there, see some construction going on."
Town leaders expect the project to cost $7.9 million. The state already agreed to pick up $6 million of the tab. Now, the federal government promises to pitch in $1.6 million, which means the town only needs to cover $300,000.
"It was like if you could relate it to a kid getting a toy on Christmas morning because I had a big sigh of relief because I knew that we were looking at having to come up with the revenues to finish the cost of repairing the dam," commissioner Eddie Maynor said.
The town needs to come up with its share of the money. In the meantime, residents feel optimistic.
"It's just what keeps Hope Mills going," Ringled said.
Officials hope to start construction on the dam in January 2005.