Work on dam to start in September


HUNTINGBURG — Work to reopen the Huntingburg Conservation Club’s lake and County Road 100 West will start soon after Labor Day.

That work will include installing a culvert and new spillway, lowering the lake and rebuilding the road.

“The lake won’t be as deep as it used to be,” said Bernie Main, president of the of the conservation club. “So that is something we will have to look at after the fact.”

But he and county officials agreed that the work being done will get the lake and road reopened, which is mandatory.

“We’re going in the right direction,” Main said. “The county is working with us. Everything is going good. There shouldn’t be any major issues at this point going forward.”

Heavy rains that hit the area in late April and early May 2017 exposed a problem with the dam’s drainage. Because there was too much rain for the dam to handle, the water washed away some of the bank around the dam and underneath County Road 100 West. For safety reasons, the lake and the section of County Road 100 West that includes the dam were closed indefinitely until repairs can be made.

After a series of talks with the club, the county and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, DNR determined that lowering the lake should be part of the solution. Lowering the level will take the lake down from 24 feet to 19.6 feet tall. The lake’s size will shrink from 12 acres to about 10 acres. Lowering the lake will remove it from DNR’s jurisdiction, since it would be under 20 feet tall.

The conservation club has a contractor that is currently making the culvert. Once that is done, the culvert and spillway installation work will start in early September. It should take about five days to complete the work, Main said.

The work will cost about $38,000. The club plans to take out a small loan to help with the costs, Main said. It will also receive a $10,000 grant with the help of the Dubois County Community Foundation.

After the culvert and spillway are installed, the county will come in to lower the lake and redo County Road 100 West, County Engineer Brent Wendholt said.

The club is also looking at doing other work on the property.

“We will do some other capital improvements, like work on the campgrounds,” Main said. “We’ve talked about possibly digging a couple other fishing lakes on the property. We will have to do some work so that it is feasible for everybody to use the lake, like lowering the banks.

“We don’t know where we’re going with all that yet,” he said. “We will address that after we get it fixed.”

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