Discord delays Lake Bella Vista dam discussion in Bentonville

Posted: September 9, 2018 at 1:07 a.m.

Ducks sit on a dry portion of lake bed in front of the Lake Bella Vista dam. How to fix the failed dam has been a point of contention among Bentonville officials, previous land owners and environmental advocates for at least a decade. The lake and dam is owned by Bentonville.

A recommended solution for what to do with the Lake Bella Vista dam will not be presented Tuesday to the City Council.

How we got here

• 2000: Cooper Realty Investment transfers Lake Bella Vista to Bella Vista/Bentonville Trailblazers Association (now known as NWA Trailblazers) at zero cost so the organization would develop a trail around the lake and maintain the property as a park.

• 2005: Trailblazers transfer Lake Bella Vista to Bentonville.

• 2008: The Association of State Dam Safety Officials declared the dam “failed” after it was topped during a storm. The association cited “hydrologic deficiencies (and) faulty materials” as the cause.

• September 2015: The Federal Emergency Management Agency commits $2.7 million to help replace the dam.

• December 2015: City Council approves 7-1 a $478,800 contract for CP&Y to design the new dam. John Skaggs was the only council member who opposed the contract.

• March 2017: The Army Corps of Engineers permit for a new dam expires. The issue of what to do with the lake and surrounding 135 acres was also transferred from the Engineering Department to the Parks and Recreation Department.

• October 2017: Walton Family Foundation gives the city $98,960 for Ecological Design Group and the Watershed Conservation Resource Center develop three solutions for Lake Bella Vista.

• May 2018: A task forces created to vet options votes to recommend a hybrid model where a stream flows past a man-made channel lake.

• June 2018: Parks Advisory Board upholds the task force’s recommendation.

• September 2018: Plans to present the recommendation and the other two options to City Council are postponed.

Source: Staff report

This story is only available from our archives.

It seems there are a couple of major errors in this article. One, the Parks & Rec task force voted for the stream only option, NOT the ‘hybrid’ option of removing the dam and building a side channel impoundment as reported in this article. The second error in the article concerns the actual vote tally. It is a 9 person panel and they voted 7 - 0. (Two members did not vote) The vote at the meeting was announced as 7 - 0, not 7 - 2 as stated in the article.

I wonder how such basic facts could have been misreported. I ask that a correction be made so as not to seriously misinform your readers. If someone one from the city, or Cooper, or any of the interested parties was the source for these errors that should be reported as well.

Posted by: EEaves

September 9, 2018 at 3:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )