Bono Lake still dry after millions sank into project

BONO, AR (KAIT) - In 2007, voters approved a 3-month sales tax to pay for the Bono Lake. It was anticipated to be full of water and fish by 2009.  

Work on the Bono Lake project has once again come to a halt as soil samples from the dam site are being examined to see if there are problems.

The lake project is running at least 2 and a half years behind schedule with a lot of work still to be done.

One of the main issues for building the dam was to prevent Bono from being flooded.

Bono Mayor Billy Stephens said he would like to see the dam finished but as far as flooding issues.

"It's really not going to help us much. Between the county and the city we have cleaned out many of the ditches around town and the water flows fine until it gets backed up on Highway 63."

I sat down with Ken Stacks at his office and asked him how his opinion of the project is going. In 2007 Stacks told KAIT that, "with luck perhaps in 2009 we can have lake that is open and functioning."

Stacks grinned "We've had luck with this project...bad luck." Stacks did say that he and he felt the quorum court as well was still committed to finishing this project.

I met county judge Ed Hill on the dry lake bed. He too told me we should be in a boat right now. I asked him if the taxpayers were getting anything for their money with this project?

"Well," he said. "The taxpayers voted for this project and were committed to seeing it through."

Hill said that when the soil report came back they would have a better idea what to do.

"Whether it's feasible to go on or regroup or look for more money. It all hinges on that report." He said.

So far the project hasn't exceeded the sales tax money raised in 2007. Hill said there was 1.4 million still left in the kitty.

But asked if the lake would ever be finished?

Hill responded.."To say that 100%, I can't say that but we're going to do our best to get it finished."

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