Bono Lake maintenance and ownership negotiations continue

Bono Lake maintenance and ownership negotiations continue

BONO, AR (KAIT) - For nearly 15 years, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has owned the land Bono Lake sits on. The lake was completed in 2014, yet no documents were ever drawn up as to who would take care of what once the lake was opened.

Negotiations to do that started up in the summer of 2013. An initial agreement presented in January of 2014  proposed leasing the lake to the county for 99 years. Obligations for each entity were set out in that proposal. The Craighead County Quorum Court did not approve that agreement and negotiations continued.

In January, two new agreements were presented to the quorum court. The first agreement would last one year. In that time, AGFC would make minor improvements while waiting to see how the lake holds water and if it remains suitable for fishing.

Upon completion of the year long agreement, AGFC would then transfer ownership of the property to Craighead County.

"Once the lake is determined by them and us to be viable, then we move into more of a permanent arrangement," Craighead County Judge Assistant Tony Thomas said Monday night.

That permanent agreement has stipulations for AGFC to pave the road to the lake, build and maintain a ramp and fishing pier and more.

But at Monday night's quorum court meeting, county leaders agreed the proposal isn't quite right just yet. Justice of the Peace Ken Stacks listed problems he had with wording in certain parts of the agreement.

"I took out the 'may' and put 'will' and scratched out the 'not obligated to provide,'" Stacks said about one section of the agreement.

Though these talks have been going on for over a year, Thomas said AGFC has been extremely helpful under these strange circumstances as agreements for the lake should have been made years ago.

"You know, they're in the same predicament that we are," Thomas said. "Sitting at the table where, when you had nothing to do with the original discussions that was a part of this project."

Though no resolution was passed Monday night, at their next meeting, the court is expected to pass a resolution approving Judge Hill to move forward with the agreement and allow him to continue final negotiations with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

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