By Carol Pritchett

Mayor, Town of Lake Lure  

Greetings to everyone in our Lake Lure community.  As spring unfolds I wanted to share an update with you on all that has been accomplished during the winter months.  Your team of Town Staff and Council Members have been working hard to bring a number of projects to completion and I want to be sure you are kept informed on our progress. 

Safety: First and foremost on my mind is the safety of our citizens and visitors.  During the first week in February our community received approximately 5 inches of rain in a 48 hour period.  The amount of rain received during this short period of time creates hazardous situations and dangerous road ways.  Thank you for using precaution during this time frame.  

I am pleased to report that there were no major incidents throughout the storm event though our Fire Department and Emergency Management Team made several weather related rescues. Our Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator Dustin Waycaster did a superb job overseeing the event.  He worked closely with our Town Manager, Police, Public Works, and Parks, Recreation and Lake Departments to ensure safety throughout the storm. Our Dam Operators worked 24 hours a day to monitor Lake Levels, ensuring not to release more water than was received from the storm event.

Penstock after sandblasting and coating

Restoration: By the time you are reading this article, our stunning Lake Lure will be refilled following the Lake drawdown that took place from 12/10/19 – 2/10/20.  The Town maximized this opportunity to provide maintenance, repairs and restoration of critical equipment and machinery that supports our infrastructure.  I am pleased to report the following accomplishments.

1. Penstock Rehabilitation: The Town conducted a full structural rehabilitation of the penstock, which is the enclosed pipe that delivers water to the hydro-electric plant turbines.  The purpose of this project was to rehabilitate this valuable asset and restore its service life to over 50 years.  

2. Infrared Thermography Conducted: Infrared thermography is applied for dam surface monitoring. The infrared thermal imager is a nondestructive testing method for determining internal material changes by examining surface changes in radiation temperature. No issues were found.

3. Breaker Testing: All manufacturer recommended testing was conducted on our medium voltage breakers.  No issues were found.

4. Butterfly Valve Rehabilitation: The butterfly valves help ensure safe operation of the generators. The interior components of the butterfly valves have been repaired.  Both butterfly valves were cycled completely and found to be functional.  Both baffles were blasted and coated with an epoxy coating.       

5. Gear Adjustments Made: Adjustments were made to gearing for the large valve and both bypass valves were installed.

6. Intake Structure Repaired: The Dam’s intake structure has been inspected and a small leak was repaired.  The intake can seals and seat all looked good. These seals were replaced about 5 years ago.

7. Tainter Gates Inspected and Strengthened: An inspection was made of the Tainter gates on the Dam. The Tainter gate is a type of radial arm floodgate used in dams to control water flow.  New lift cables were   installed on all 3 gates.

8. Hydro-electric Plant Generator Repaired: The lower bearing in the large generator was replaced. An overspeed test was conducted on this generator.  No issues were identified.   

9. Intake Drum Gate Hoist Replacement: The new hoist was ordered and the replacement will be completed in March after the Lake is full , a requirement for this work to be completed.

10. Sewer System Repair: A sewer system valve was installed while the Lake levels were down and it is now fully operational.  

Although it is always difficult to lower the Lake, I hope you will share in my appreciation to the teams of people who worked together to bring all these accomplishments to fruition during this short timeframe.  I thank our community for supporting the Lake drawdown so these critical infrastructure projects could be completed.

Future Projects

New Marina/Boardwalk: I am pleased to share the news that tax dollars are not funding the new Marina and Boardwalk that is being built.  This project will be self-sustaining and pay for itself while generating extra revenue for the Town.  Revenue will be generated by those who lease slips in the Marina.  Additionally, a portion of the cost for the new Boardwalk is being covered through a grant with the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority.  The new Marina and Boardwalk are being constructed off site and will be installed after the demolition is finished.  The service provider is under contract to have this work completed by May 22, 2020, just before Memorial Day Weekend.  

Illustration of future Boardwalk-Marina.

Dredging:  When the Lake is lowered, it illustrates the critical need for ongoing dredging. During the Lake drawdown, dredging was focused in the Marina area. The plan is to refocus dredging in the main channel when the Lake is back up in February 2020.  Ongoing dredging is required to maintain all lakes and it is budgeted in Lake Lure’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Morse Park: An additional project is underway to expand the Morse Park event space for development of a future outdoor amphitheater.  Be sure to notice the work that has taken place to enhance the lawn (and view) between Morse Park and the Broad River, by removing the excess materials.  

Your Lake Lure team is hard at work with great focus on restoring our infrastructure.  We are collaborating with the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Transportation, the State Parks and other agencies to ensure excellent communication and partnership.  We are reaching out to our political representatives, working with expert consultants, and writing grants to support our efforts.  Our citizens are a most important partner in our progress.  To enhance our ongoing communication with you, we will be hosting a series of Town Hall Meetings to keep you informed and to hear your input as we move forward.  Please stay tuned for further information on these Town Hall Meetings. I look forward to speaking with you in person as we work together to preserve Lake Lure for future generations.