Disappointed But Not Defeated

BONO, AR -- The proposed 135 acre Bono Lake Project started as an idea in 2001. Six years later, construction still hasn't begun and as of last week, breaking ground may be even farther away.

"We got bad news is really what it boiled down to," says Mike Hawkins, who serves as a Justice of the Peace on Craighead County's Quorum Court.

Hawkins and several other county leaders traveled to Washington, D.C. Last week to lobby Arkansas's congressional delegation to fund the proposed $4.1 million dollar project, but the Corps of Engineers said the funds just aren't there.

"We kindly knew it was coming I guess but we just wanted to hear them say it. We were kind of a little disappointed because we were kind of hoping they would help us with all the support we had," says Bono Mayor L.M. Duncan.

With their proposal, they took 9 supporting resolutions from surrounding region 8 cities showing congress they had the local support to back this project.

Congress told the city of Bono and Craighead County that in order for the corps of engineers to fund and build this project, it would need to be addressing at least 50 percent of the flooding problems. Bono only needed it for 15 percent and that's why they say they'll be turning to other options to make it happen.

"We have some choices, general improvement money from the state, maybe soil and water, or maybe a sales tax. I don't know that's what we're going to look at next week to see what our best options are," says Mayor Duncan.

Although this project has taken many turns since the idea was first introduced, they say the Bono Recreational Lake could still very much become a reality for all of Region 8.

"We came back with a lot of optimism from our group there that this project is still a very doable project and we're not anywhere near ready to quit," says Hawkins.

A 3 person ad hoc committee has been created to keep the proposed Bono Lake Project in the works. They are expected to meet Tuesday to determine how to proceed from this point.