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Council debates lake feasibility study

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Report attempts to alleviate downstream flooding

By Marty Finley

By MARTY FINLEY

mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown City Council on Monday discussed plans with Stanton Engineers to draft a preliminary report that would determine the possibility of lowering Freeman Lake’s pool level during winter months in hopes to alleviate flooding downstream.

The proposal would determine how feasible the project would be through Stanton compiling current data on the lake and dam with new research that will include studying historical weather patterns.

However, the report was met with some opposition.

Councilman Marty Fulkerson said he felt the report—which is estimated to cost $15,000 — is the equivalent of writing a blank check to Stanton. He said if the project was feasible, the city would feel obligated to continue the process on and then be obligated to pay whatever price Stanton wanted. He said he felt the city needed to know more about the entire scope of the project before moving forward.

“I have a problem with $15,000 for an educated guess,” Fulkerson said.

But Stanton said an educated guess is all they could offer in the preliminary report as there would be a lot of unknown variables to consider.

Councilman Kenny Lewis said he felt the city could provide an educated guess without the need of the report, but most of the council agreed that they needed the input from Stanton Engineers because of its in-depth knowledge of the Freeman Lake Dam. Mayor David Willmoth said they wanted to be able to conduct the project, but did not want to endanger the integrity of the dam by doing it.

Councilman Ron Thomas said he also wanted to know how much a plan would cost, but felt it was necessary to take this step with Stanton. He said the council would be very shortsighted if they were not willing to pay $15,000 to find out how feasible the project would be.

“I say for piece of mind, it’s money well spent,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he believed they could make efforts to control the water level in the reservoir and thus be more proactive when heavy rains are expected. He said the least they could do is see if it was possible.

“I think we owe that to the residents downstream,” he said.

The council will vote on Stanton’s proposal in an upcoming meeting. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.