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Cecil community opts to repair dam, keep lake


A group of Cecil County homeowners has voted to repair the dam that forms a lake in the center of their community rather than let the state turn it into a marsh.

By a vote of 104 to 94, residents of the former vacation resort of Octoraro Lakes in Cecil County decided to fix the 30-foot-high earthen dam holding a 7 1/2 -acre lake in the center of the community.

The Maryland Department of the Environment had informed the community last month that the dam was unsafe and the lake had to be drained promptly because it threatened to flood a new home built below it.

State officials offered to convert the lake to a freshwater wetlands at no cost to the community, an option attractive to many residents. But a majority of homeowners opted to save the lake, despite one company's estimate that it would cost $330,000 to repair the dam or about $1,500 per homeowner.

Eric Washburn, community association president, said neighborhood leaders hope to get a lower price by rebidding the work soon.

In the meantime, the lake will be drained, at least until the dam can be fixed. "Then we will be able to repair the lake at our own pace," Washburn said.

Pub Date: 12/18/98

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