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franklin county times

City of Meridian
to fund Bonita Lake repairs

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
July 21, 2004
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' denial of federal funds to repair a leaking dam on the lower lake at Bonita will force Meridian officials to revert to an earlier plan of using money from a $2.9 million loan.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith told city councilmen Tuesday that the city didn't land the grant for the repairs which are expected to cost about $400,000.
Councilmen, however, originally planned to fund the repairs as part of a $2.9 million loan the city made for water and sewer repairs. They applied for the grant because it would have covered 75 percent of the cost.
Smith said the city will not reapply for the grant and, instead, will proceed with the repairs. The mayor said he hoped the city would hire a contractor for the repairs in October.
Councilmen and some members of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors have said Bonita's lower lake is in dire need of repairs.
The lake has become overgrown with patches of weeds since it was drained more than two years ago to search for the leak discovered during a routine check by the state Department of Environmental Quality.
The city originally planned to use a $500,000 federal grant to help repair the dam.
But the Natural Resources Conservation Service said there was greater need to use the money for repairs to Gallagher Creek, a city drainage canal with ongoing erosion problems.
City Council President Bobby Smith said he was surprised to hear the city did not land the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers grant. Councilman Smith also said the repair of the lower lake is "past due."

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