Town of Hope Mills NC and Engineers in Civil Mediation
Thursday, August, 9, 2012
The North Carolina town of Hope Mills has finally begun civil mediation with the engineering firms responsible for the failed Hope Mills dam. It is in private mediation services with the companies that designed and built the dam, which was a replacement for an earthen dam built over 80 years ago.
Private Mediation Services for a Public Issue
Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said in a written statement that the mediation needed to be held in private so that all parties felt free to be as open with each other as possible.
The mediation meeting was held before the town's Board of Directors meeting. The two parties discussed plans for fixing the damn that was built in 2008 to replace the old earthen dam.
Why is This Dam Project So Important to the Town of Hope Mills?
When the town of Hope Mills had a dam, it also had a lake. Lake Hope Mills attracted local tourists for decades. While Lake Hope Mills wasn't the equivalent of a theme park, it still brought out-of-town revenue to the town and the town's local businesses.
The old earthen dam that kept the lake intact, washed away in 2003 during a heavy rain spell.
Concerned citizens formed The Friends of Hope Mills lake in 2006. They raised enough money for a new dam to be completed in 2008.
Where Does Civil Mediation Enter the Picture?
In 2010, it became apparent that the lake would have to be drained due to safety concerns. Engineers found that water was leaking out through a sinkhole under the dam. They decided that a slow release of lake water through the dam, would prevent a massive leak pouring through the sinkhole.
The town has chosen to enter mediation with the firms that planned and built the dam. Taking the firms to court could lead to a decade-long battle, while the path of mediation could see Lake Hope Mills restored by the end of 2013.