Public hearing Wednesday on future of Lake Alice dam - CBS46 News

Public hearing Wednesday on future of Lake Alice dam

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A public hearing will be held Wednesday night to discuss the future of the Lake Alice dam. The dam burst last May after heavy rains in the area.

The breach sent tons of water, silt and debris downstream.

"You look behind most of the homes and you see what looks like a red chocolate milk or something out there," said Brant Meadows, who lives along Little Ridge Cove. "You look at the amount of silt.  Nobody would want to get in there and that is Atlanta's drinking water, after all, in Lake Lanier."

City of Cumming officials said they are working with state and federal officials as well as with the Mashburn family who owns much of the dam and nearby property.

"Hopefully, what people will realize is that we have a plan, and we're moving forward," said Planning Director Scott Morgan. "And we're close to being able to implement that."

As part of the agreement, the city will dredge a creek and cove in the area and repair Sanders Road, which was washed out by the dam breach.

The plan also calls for the Mashburn family to pay to install a weir. The structure holds back a smaller amount of water than a dam and also allows it to flow freely over the top.

While the family is in favor of the agreement, it has filed notice that it is likely to sue the city of Cumming for the costs it has incurred.

"The Mashburn family is not responsible for the failure of that dam," said attorney Michael Carvalho. "The city is responsible, as well as those who've developed the property around the lake and increased the flows into the lake." 

Carvalho said the Mashburn family has roots in Cumming dating back to the 1800s and wants to see the area properly remediated.

Morgan said he could not estimate the cost of the plan.

"How much has to be removed? What exactly has to be done?" asked Morgan, who said details are still being worked out. "There will be costs associated with that which the city will have to bear. Ultimately, that means taxpayers' dollars will have to be expended on that."

If an agreement is reached, Morgan said work to improve the area could begin in the next few months.

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