Paying for Needed Improvements to Ivy Lake Dam in Forest

Forest, VA - People living around Ivy Lake in Forest just got a letter from the state they were unhappy to receive. It concerns the dam at Ivy Lake.

Liberty University has owned the lake and dam for five years.

Recently, the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation warned that the dam needs improvements because it could break in a massive rain storm.

This week, lake residents and Liberty got a reply from Richmond that said that someone needs to pay to fix the dam. If not, the state will drain Ivy Lake.

The last thing Liberty University and those who call the lake home want to see is the water going away. But that is one of two options the state has put on the table.

The second, and more likely one, is investing an estimated $2.5 million into the dam's spillway.

Lee Beaumont is with Liberty University. If he made the final call, he would reinforce this spillway with concrete and have LU and lake residents split the cost.

"Nobody wants to see this lake go away, but we obviously have to find a way to meet these new regulations," said Beaumont.

New, stricter state regulations Bob Bashore and David Roberson are helping their neighbors to fight.

"Isn't the state just trying to protect you," we asked.

"They think they are. We think it's not," said Bob Bashore, a resident.

The state's letter reads: "Ivy Lake Dam is a high hazard dam with about $1,000 people at risk if there is a dam failure."

But, these guys say a storm like that is very unlikely and likens repairs to preparations for a meteor strike.

Liberty University agrees.

"It would require 37 inches over a 12 hour period focused on the drainage area. So, it's a very highly unlikely event that the water would crest and breach this dam in a storm event," said Lee Beaumont.

But just in case, Richmond wants Ivy Lake prepared.

Liberty and lake residents aren't sitting on their hands. They are meeting next week.

Liberty's given its offer to split the cost. Now, it's up to lake residents to counter-offer. Richmond needs an answer this summer.