FEMA Funding To Be Used Toward Lake Bella Vista Dam Removal

BELLA VISTA (KFSM) — Friends of Little Sugar Creek, a grassroots, non-profit organization, liked the news Thursday (Jan. 18) night regarding the removal of Lake Bella Vista Dam. “The Bentonville Parks Director announced that some FEMA money could be use toward removing the dam,” said Greg Van Horn, “along with funding from other organizations.”

Those organizations include Arkansas Game and Fish and US Fish and Wildlife Service (an agency within the US Department of the Interior).

Originally, funding from FEMA was to restore the dam, but now money can be used to remove it, too, according to Van Horn.

The FEMA funding announcement was made Thursday at a public meeting, hosted by the Bentonville Parks & Recreation, to discuss the future of a master plan project for the 132 acre Bella Vista Lake Park. It was held at the community center.

Last October, Bentonville’s City Council voted to move forward with a master plan project that is to be funded with a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.  Park property will be evaluated and researched for multiple design possibilities for the project.

As for the dam, the removal allows for the restoration of a free-flowing Little Sugar Creek — that’s really not “little.”

“It’s a 40 mile long creek that begins in Garfield, Arkansas, and runs to Pineville, Missouri, and joins the Elk River,” said Van Horn.

“This is a good thing to see happen and nice to see a more environmental-friendly option for our area,” said Van Horn.

Van Horn explained that this is a multi-million project to remove the dam and reconstruct.  “It’s more expensive to build dams versus removing them, it’s about one-third of the cost.

Approximately 100 people attended Thursday’s meeting.

Another meeting is planned for the spring 2018.

In the past here had been opposition to the project mainly due to funding and that the old lake had historical value, Van Horn said, “but no one voiced anything negative about the project,” from what he could tell.

For more information, visit www.playbentonville.com or call 464-PARK (7275).