HOPE MILLS, N.C. — On Memorial Day weekend 2003, the dam on Hope Mills Lake broke. The town has secured nearly $8 million to restore the lake, but the mayor said the permitting process to fix the dam, bridge and Lakeview Road has taken much longer than expected.
"I never imagined since the lake has been here 100 years, there would be so much involved to restore it," said Mayor Edwin Deaver.
Before Hope Mills can get started, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants the town to remove the concrete and replace it with a naturalized stream. The town is fighting the request.
Homeowners, including retired state Sen. John Henley, cannot believe the latest issue could delay the project again.
"Just the bureaucracy. I think it's going to take contacting members of Congress," he said.
Jimmy McLean can hardly talk about it. He works on one side of the lake and lives on the other. Without Lakeview Road, a two-minute commute now takes him about 15 minutes.
"They haven't turned a shovel full of dirt yet. That's what's so depressing," he said.
The mayor said the place looked even worse a few weeks ago with the growth of weeds. The town just cut all the weeds down because leaders decided to bring the Christmas parade back by the lake.
Town leaders will meet with the Army Corps of Engineers Wednesday. If the town can get the Corps' request changed, construction on the bridge and road could begin in January. The dam is not expected to be finished until early 2006.