Repair to Bonita Dam on Hold

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At its best, the lower lake at Bonita Lakes Park is one of Meridian's most attractive locations. At its worst, it's a sea of mud and grass. The problem is the dam leaks and the city doesn't have the money to fix it.

City officials thought federal money was locked for the project, but Mayor John Robert Smith said Tuesday that, due to a misunderstanding, that money has gone elsewhere.

"National Resources and Conservation Service, a federal department, a state agency, received $500,000 on a city of Meridian request for work for the dam at Bonita Lakes here in Meridian," said Smith. "The NRCS has decided that part of that money would be spent on a project that has been underway in Meridian for many years, the Gallagher Creek project."

NRCS will use $300,000 of the money for Gallagher Creek, leaving only $200,000. Smith said repairing the dam will cost the full half million.

"We've already have a request in to our congressional delegation for additional funds and, if necessary, we will add anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000 to an upcoming water and sewer bond issue to complete the repairs to Bonita Lakes Dam," Smith said.

With the loss of the federal dollars the project will be delayed as long as a year.