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14Dam 4 Aldridge photoThe citizens in Hope Mills don’t just have a new dam and restored lake anymore. Now they’ve got a nationally-recognized one.

Town Manager Melissa Adams recently received notification that Hope Mills has won this year’s National Rehabilitation Project of the Year Award from the Association of State Dam Safety Officials based in Seattle, Washington. Town representatives will travel there on Sept. 10 to receive the award at the dam safety conference’s award luncheon.

Katelyn Riley, communications manager for the ASDSO, said the rehabilitation project award is one of several specific dam safety awards the organization presents annually. Founded in the 1980s, the dam safety group has presented this particular award since 1992 under slightly different names.

Riley put the meaning of the award in the proper context.

“It is a big deal,’’ she said. “It means the work that they did is state-of-the-art. It means they are meeting really high standards. It means they are an example for other people who are looking into rehabilitation for their dams. It’s national recognition that they did a great job.’’

Riley said the dam in Hope Mills was first brought to the attention of her organization through a member of their board of directors. Then, Hope Mills was contacted and had to go through an extensive application process to be considered for the award.

“Our organization, our vision, is a future where all dams are safe,’’ Riley said. She added they work with people all across the nation involved in dam safety to improve safety, education and communication about dams.

She said the award is for developers who come up with unique and innovative rehabilitation projects that meet the high standards for engineers and dam safety and serve as an example for other people across the country.

The Hope Mills application for the award was submitted primarily by Adams, Mayor Jackie Warner, former Hope Mills Public Works Director Hector Cruz and Mark Landis of Schnabel Engineering. Adams said the entry included problems encountered, solutions achieved, unique characteristics of the project, plus a description and history of the rehabilitation.

Adams called the award fantastic and hopes that the community realizes it came from a lot of hard work from many, many people.

“I don’t believe they realize the magnitude of all the work that went into it,’’ Adams said, “even the daily oversight of the project.’’

She does feel there is a great sense of celebration and jubilation in the community now that the dam is back and the lake has been restored.

“People are truly enjoying the property, the park area, the new pier, the water in the lake, being able to boat and sit out there and view the water at sunset,’’ she said.

“It’s absolutely gorgeous. I think people are grateful for that and enjoying it.’’

As the town commissioners continue to develop plans for the lake’s future, Adams thinks there’s no limit to what the town can do to benefit from the dam and return of the lake.

“The different activities we’ll be able to hold down there,’’ she said. “The public functions. The future celebrations. Being able to have that sense of accomplishment and look at how beautiful it is.’’

Adams said it will add an additional piece to public functions as well as parks and recreation activities.

“Anybody can come and enjoy,’’ she said.

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