State officials searching for money to clean Byram lake site

Published 5:50 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Residents who live in the 20 homes that sit on the former Lake Dockery are awaiting word on when work will begin to clean-up what has become an overgrown swamp.

The lake was drained in May 2004 when erosion following heavy rains caused the dam to fail. State officials are still looking for funds from Mississippi lawmakers to repair the damaged dam.

The pre-Hurricane Katrina estimate of $1.2 million probably has gone up, said Ron Garavelli, director of fisheries for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

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Building materials such as wood and metal have increased since the devastating storm, which means finding funds to fix the problem seems further out of reach.

The last bill to address repairing the lake died because of a tight state budget during the regular session in 2005.

“All of us were trying to figure out something that could be done,” said Sen. Lynn Posey, D-Union Church, who co-authored the bill with Sen. Richard White, R-Terry.

It’s been a year since Marilyn Hicks has heard anything about what’s going to be done to restore the lakefront view from her Byram backyard.

“I spent many a day fishing in this lake until they decided it might flood,” said Hicks, pointing to the old dock in her neighbor’s yard that has been sitting on dry land for two years.

Garavelli said his hands are tied until the dam is up to code, but that crews are sent every so often to mow the grass and pick up trash.

Hicks said her side has not been manicured at all. The waterline cannot be seen from her back yard. Only cattails lining the dip where it used to lap the bank are left.