Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Work to repair the dam at the popular Town of Lexington’s recreation park and public venue called Gibson Park is finally set to begin this month. Its most beautiful draw at one point had been little more than a mudhole and stream since the dam burst during the floods of 2015. Before the dam that helped make the feature special was swept away by the 1,000-year flood, you saw people enjoying water activities like canoeing and fishing regularly. Although the park was still open and used for birthdays, picnics, or just communing with nature during the interim, it just wasn’t the same.
Since the pond’s dam lost its integrity and was washed downstream, the Town of Lexington has gone through an arduous process to get us to where they are today. After the flood, those regulators tasked with approving designs for replacements began demanding some significant changes to the standards. This was especially true when hazards downstream were high and frequently travelled roads went across the dams that had burst. At one point, Lexington’s Mayor Steve MacDougall said on the show Good Morning Lexington County that the first design they asked for and approved, “Looked like the Lake Murray dam and would have cost about as much.” MacDougall said that he and the town’s council realized the need to build something other than the old style dam that had been there for decades, perhaps over a century, but it still had to be a reasonably priced and yet safe fix if the pond was ever going to be restored.
After some negotiation, a final design was approved. Although the price tag was still hefty, it wasn’t completely out of reach. The US agency F.E.M.A. was paying a large portion of the tab but the town’s portion was still hefty. Although the town struggled to gather their matching money from various sources, the day many have asked for is about here. By sometime this spring, Gibson Pond should be holding water again and the adjoining park will once again be full of people and families enjoying the pond that gave the park its name.
For safety’s sake, the entire park will be closed during construction. This should prevent children, be they the younger variety, or the ones that are simply a perpetual child at heart that like to sit on big tractors and play like they’re operating them, from climbing on or playing with things they shouldn’t. They could easily hurt themselves or others. Waiting is tough, but necessary.
You can follow the Town of Lexington on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the progress of the new dam’s construction and the restoration of the pond.