BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Friends of Little Sugar Creek filed an intent to sue the city of Bentonville over the Lake Bella Vista Dam.
Ken Leonard with Friends of Little Sugar Creek, a group that supports the restoration of the creek, said the group intends to sue because he said the city is violating the federal Clean Water Act.
“You don’t want to be constantly polluting a stream and the constant erosion of concrete, asphalt and fill dirt settlement into the Little Sugar Creek are all pollutants and removing the dam would stop that problem,” Leonard said.
The dam has been worn down over the years because of heavy rain and flooding. In 2021, the dam was pretty much washed away. However, remnants remain that are falling into the water.
Leonard said the creek also flows into the Grand Lake in Oklahoma, which is a water supply for people there.
The city of Bentonville sent the following statement in regard to the potential lawsuit.
“The City of Bentonville will not publicly comment on alleged litigation. We are very proud of the resolution reached between the City and Cooper Realty Investments. Since this resolution, our team has started the design process to remove the dam, restore the Little Sugar Creek, and create a public park setting our residents will be proud of for generations to come. We will continue to move forward with that timeline and are committed to following all laws and regulations during the process.”Bonnie Bridges, Associate Attorney, City of Bentonville
According to the agreement, the Lake Bella Vista park improvements are set to be complete by 2025.
Greg Van Horn with Friends of Little Sugar Creek said time is of the essence when it comes to removing the dam.
“The sooner we get this out here, the sooner we can end that cycle and the sooner we can enjoy a free-flowing, natural Ozark creek,” Van Horn said.
Bentonville has 60 days to take decisive action or a formal lawsuit will be filed.