Bentonville City Council to decide on fate of Lake Bella Vista dam

KNWA

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A destroyed dam in Bentonville is resulting in even more controversy.

The Little Sugar Creek dam that forms Lake Bella Vista has been under controversy since 2008 when it was damaged by flooding for the first time. Now, after April 2021 flooding, a decision has to be made to either repair the dam or do away with it completely, but the Bentonville City Council is torn.

“That’s a very complex situation,” said council member, Octavio Sanchez. “I can assure you, at the end, it’s going to be a pretty park, either with a dam or without it.”

Sanchez said with the fate of the dam up to the city council, he has no idea what the future holds.

“If we’re gonna spend $100,00 repairing a hole, let’s make a decision and invest our money in something that will be longterm,” said councilwoman, Cindy Acree.

Acree said either way, something needs to be done.

“If we continue to kick this can down the road, the city’s gonna end up losing a lot of money, I believe, and the citizens will not benefit from having that wonderful lake and creek in our area.”

Greg Van Horn is a member of Friends of Little Sugar Creek, advocating for the removal of the dam.

“Now, the reservoir is completely draining out and the creek is starting to to the vibrant life again,” Van Horn said.

Both Acree and Sanchez said they have also heard from people in favor of keeping the dam. Sanchez said despite disadvantages, the recent flooding could have been even worse for the city without the dam.

Earlier in May, Benton County Judge, Barry Moehring signed an Emergency Disaster Declaration for flooding repairs. Sanchez said a decision by the city council will not be made until after this damage is at least assessed.

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