Debate Over Johnston County Dam Draws Waves Of Protest
Posted June 28, 2001
JOHNSTON COUNTY — A Johnston County father is getting support in high places for a plan to destroy a nearby dam.
Congressman Bob Etheridge is pushing to tear down the Lowell Mill Dam at Little River, the same place where a teenager drowned last summer, but some neighbors say the dam should stay put.
For Doug Tetrick, getting the Lowell Mill Dam torn down is a mission.
"I lost my son the first day of August at the dam," he says. "There is something about the dam. Kids like it. It's a place for them to hang out at."
Tetrick's son, Paul, drowned at the dam when the water level was high due to heavy rain. Tetrick says he is worried about another child drowning at the dam.
"It's just like a magnet for children. When they are down there, they think they are out in a wilderness, but they are really in a bad place," he says.
However, some people do not want to dam to be destroyed. Billy Davis has been fishing at the Little River since he was a child. He has a petition with over 200 signatures of people who want to keep the dam. He says taking down the dam would dry up surrounding wetlands that supports a number of aquatic animals.
"Whenever they blow up the dam and it dries up, you are going to have a few deep holes left. The fish are going to fall into them and die," he says.
The owner of the dam says he has not made up his mind yet about its future, but he says everyone is supposed to have permission to come to the dam because it is private property.