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Council member suggests removal of Bloomfield lake due to dam erosion

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Damage to dam would mean costly repair

By John Singleton

A Bloomfield City Council member suggested Monday the elimination of Bloomfield Memorial Park Lake needs to be considered because of damage to the dam.

“I think that the lake is a very nice feature of the park,” council member Laura Barnett said. “But I think, maybe, we should consider the possibility of just getting rid of the lake.”

The Bloomfield Dam has been reported to have erosion around the spillway, and that is the most important issue, according to the Kentucky Division of Water. The Division wants everything fixed, but the erosion needs to be taken care of first, city engineer Clint Abbott said.

“At one point in time, when the spillway in the dam was originally constructed, stone was placed at the bottom of the spillway to prevent erosion from happening, and that is long gone,” Abbot said. “Now, every time it rains enough for the spillway to activate and start discharging water, the flow is cutting into the embankment on either side.”

Abbott told the council on Monday he “worked up” an estimate on how much it would cost to repair the damage and said it would cost approximately $134,000. Left unchecked, the dam will fail, Abbott said.

“I’m not saying it’s going to happen tomorrow, but this needs to be addressed,” he said. “I know it’s a big pill to swallow for a little town, but this is a big concern.”

Public Works Superintendent Scott Thompson said he has noticed a major change in the dam within the last two years. The right side of the dam is eroded enough to make part of the mouth disappear.

“It’s like someone took a knife and sliced off a section of the dam,” Thompson said. “It’s progressively getting worse.”

That was when Barnett said the council might have to think about taking out the entire lake all together.

“I’m not saying we should, but I think we have to look at that because this is a huge amount of money,” she said, “and I think that we all have to think about if the lake is really worth that to the community.”

Thompson argued the lake would be sorely missed and he mentioned the support of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. He said he is “strictly opposed” to the elimination of the lake and too many people enjoy it.

Abbott responded by saying there is also a cost to do what Barnett recommended. He said it would be almost half the cost of repairs to get rid of it.

Mayor Chris Dudgeon said the council needs to approach this issue from all angles and really see the different sides of it.

“This is just a proposal here,” Dudgeon said. “We don’t have to decide tonight.”

He also further assessed the issue by saying the lake is for the community and the purpose of the Bloomfield City Council is to serve the community.