HOPE MILLS, N.C. -- The town of Hope Mills has decided to take the its dam repair issues to mediation. The dam failed once in 2003 and a new one built in its place failed in 2010.
Winton McHenry and his wife moved to their home in Hope Mills because of the beautiful lake it sat on.
"When the water was up out there, it looked like a little island out there and we would bring the swan around in the moat and get our grandkids in and it was quite beautiful,” said McHenry.
McHenry is one of many Hope Mills residents who hope to one day see water back in their town's lake. A timetable earlier this year called for construction to begin this month and be finished by October 2013. Now, with the project still delayed, the town's board of commissioners has voted to take the project to mediation.
"I hope and pray that this other group that has come on board can sit down at a round table and make a decision, the right decision, to come out here and put some equipment in this lake and let's get started,” said Commissioner Tonzie Collins.
Collins says $14 million has been invested in the project. Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner said in a statement that the town and other parties are in the process of selecting a suitable mediator and they are hoping to hold the meeting as soon as possible and recognize that more than one session may be necessary.
"Oh, I hate it for them, they want it back, they deserve to get it back, and I think this board we have now is doing their part, but until we start putting the pressure on them, they are going to do what they want to do,” Collins said.
McHenry and his wife say after living there for 15 years and remembering what a beautiful lake this was, they have never gotten used to waking up and seeing this area empty.
"Were not looking for some Taj Mahal down here to hold the water, all were looking for is to get back to where we were,” he said.
Attorneys for the town say they will send out official updates to the public regularly, making sure to keep everyone informed of the mediation process even though it will be done in private.