by Carol Pritchett, Mayor, Town of Lake Lure

I hope that you and your family are enjoying the extraordinary beauty of Lake Lure this fall. Autumn is one of the most stunning times of the year in our town and it leads us into the joyous holiday season.
We are planning to light up Lake Lure again this year so stay tuned for further details on this as we get closer to the holidays.

I am pleased to share that your Town Council has decided to postpone the Lake Drawdown Schedule until 1/4/21. This will allow everyone to take full advantage of the holidays with family and friends. Although we know how important it is to continue to use precautions to ensure our safety during this pandemic, we are indeed fortunate that we can revel in nature and enjoy the great outdoors here in Lake Lure throughout most of the year.

The Town of Lake Lure will be lowering the Lake beginning 1/4/21 until 1/31/21. The purpose of lowering the Lake at this time is for a penstock inspection, ongoing dredging, a sewer system assessment including a geotechnical investigation, and to take drone footage of the shoreline and lake bed for the sewer system renovation. 
The Lake will be lowered one (1) foot per day and will ultimately be lowered to twelve (12) feet below full pond (990.5 feet above mean sea level). 
The Lake is expected to remain at (12) feet below full pond from 1/15/21 until 1/20/21.
We plan to begin refilling the Lake at a rate of one (1) foot per day to have the Lake back at full pond by 1/31/21.
Thank you for your patience as we lower the Lake to continue the work of strengthening our town’s infrastructure.

One of the major infrastructure undertakings we are working on is the Sewer System and Wastewater Treatment Plant replacement and renovation. We are making progress with this important project and want to keep you informed about each phase of our work.

As you may know, Lake Lure’s 1927 sewer system utilizes a series of pipes that are submerged beneath the Lake. The iron pipes, concrete manholes, and older septic systems must be replaced to protect our pristine lake. The Town is embarking upon a phased rehabilitation and replacement approach that maintains sewer service while improving system performance. The design and implementation of the new state-of-the-art engineering solution is challenging because the new system remains in the Lake. Specifically, the new collection system will be installed in the backshore, which is the land exposed during lake drawdown periods.

The Town is working closely with several divisions within the NC Department of Environmental Quality. We hired a firm specializing in wastewater infrastructure to implement a sequential engineering solution that leverages modern sewage collection and treatment technology. These solutions were presented to the public during our July 2020 community forums, and our plans have progressed since these meetings.

We are moving forward with an eco-friendly solution that utilizes the backshore area of the Lake. A gravity lift system will be installed using a combination of gravity sewer lines and pumping manholes to provide sewer access around the perimeter of the Lake. Lake Lure’s new progressive sewer system will minimize property disruption while enhancing performance through an environmentally sensitive system. I am pleased that this new system has the lowest environmental, economic, and social cost of all the alternatives considered. This project will eliminate system issues and prevent failures that could occur if we did not take action. We are in the process of identifying the specific properties that will be included in the first phase of this project which we expect to begin in 2021. Please stay tuned for updates from our Town Council meetings which are posted in our Town News on the Lake Lure website at: http://www.townoflakelure.com/the-town-news.php

In addition to the sewer system project, the Town is continuing the work to restore our nearly 100 year old dam. Last year we applied for and were awarded a FEMA High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) Rehabilitation Grant to support the evaluation of the spillway capacity and dam upgrade alternatives to restore the Dam. Your Town Council has reviewed these alternatives and we are considering the best strategies. One critical improvement that is needed is a reservoir drain. The reservoir drain system will be coordinated with the sanitary sewer system improvements. We have applied for another FEMA High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) Rehabilitation Grant to support the design of the reservoir drain.

This year we also plan to apply for a FEMA FY20 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant to provide funding for a dam spillway assessment, automated Tainter gates, and spring gauges to help monitor lake levels. Additionally, we plan to apply for the FEMA FY20 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant to help fund the construction of the Dam Reservoir Drain.

Many of our Town boards have been instrumental in developing plans for these important infrastructure projects. The Town encourages residents – women and men of all ages – and from all backgrounds – to apply for appointment to the Town boards and committees. The role of citizens as advisory board or committee members is important to the Town in providing a vital link between the community and our local government. Service on these boards and committees fosters direct and meaningful citizen participation in the work of the Town. 

I am pleased to recognize our two newest board members, Kenneth Golliher, who was appointed to the Lake Advisory Board and Peter O’Leary, who was appointed to the ABC Board. There may be additional opportunities to serve on our boards at the end of the calendar year so please consider applying to serve on one of the following boards: ABC Board, Board of Adjustment, Lake Advisory Board, Utility Advisory Board, Lake Structure Appeals Board, Parks and Recreation, or the Zoning and Planning Board. To apply to serve on one of these boards, please download an application at: http://www.townoflakelure.com/appointed-boards-committees.php. You may email your Volunteer Application to townclerk@townoflakelure.com or drop your application off at the Town of Lake Lure Office at 2948 Memorial Highway.

In closing, I want to personally invite you all to participate in our upcoming Veterans Day Program on Wednesday, 11/11/20 at 9:30 am. Please plan to join the Town of Lake Lure and Rumbling Bald Resort for this special Veterans Day Program at the Rumbling Bald Gazebo, followed by breakfast on the Terrace.  Veterans and their spouses will enjoy a complimentary meal. The program will be outside and physically distant seating will be available.  We request that all attendees wear a facial covering for everyone’s safety. Come out and show your gratitude to our beloved veterans!