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City Proposes Third Option For Dam At Lake Bella Vista

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) – A special meeting was held Thursday (July 20) to talk about what should be done with the dam at Lake Bella Vista.

Some want it taken out completely and others said it just needs to be replaced.

Thursday's meeting wasn't about deciding on a final resolution, but talking about solutions for the dam that has been declared a disaster by FEMA in 2008 and 2011.

Alderman Bill Burckart said since the city has spent a lot of time and money getting all the funds in place to remove and rebuild the dam, that’s what he thinks they should do.

“I grew up here in Bella Vista on the paddle boats, renting the paddle boats, renting fishing poles and swimming. And all of that is in the master plan and once we rebuild that, it`s to bring back that type of nostalgia with the kids,” Burckart said.

Ron Miller is with the Friends of Little Sugar Creek, which is the group wanting the dam removed and the creek to be free-flowing. He said he understands the importance of the history of the lake.

“Right now there is just an artifact of an old slab from an old building on a resort that flooded and so we've got some work to do. The park is a potential gem for the city, right now it's not. It's not really even a diamond in the rough right now, you can't even see the diamond but I promise it's there,” Miller said.

The city is proposing three options for Lake Bella Vista. To build a new dam, let Little Sugar Creek flow or have a free-flowing stream with a side channel lake.

“The compromise would be a little bit of both. You would have a free-flowing stream, but you would also have a lagoon type area where you could have lake type activities. That is our hope to do something that will satisfy both groups," Travis Matlock said.

Right now, the city can get the more than $3 million from FEMA, but those funds can only be used to remove and rebuild the dam.

 The city doesn't have an estimate for the other two options brought up at the meeting. They are hoping to have those estimates soon before they meet again.