Repairs to the structural portion of Pine Lake Dam near Caroga Lake, N.Y., concluded Wednesday (Aug. 29), more than one year after severe floods almost destroyed it, according to the Gloversville Herald-Leader.
William and Jeff Houck, who own the dam and Pine Lake Campground & RV Park, say it’s now time to focus on the normal business of the camp and lake.
“It’s a relief,” said Jeff Houck. “It felt like it would never end … still though, there is a little bit more to do.”
Cosmetic repairs will be made throughout September to finalize the dam. On Wednesday, trucks poured about 37 yards of cement to create a concrete wall and finish the actual structure of the wall. Construction began in June with a team pounding 15- to 20-foot steel pilings into the ground to prevent water from undermining the dam.
Construction, engineering and legal fees for the dam are expected to approach $350,000. The Department of Environmental Conservation originally required a complete overhaul of the dam, shoreline and spillway for more than $1 million. Later, however, the DEC ruled the repairs could be limited to the dam for the substantially lower price.
The Houcks turned to camp owners to help pay for the dam and offered incentives like additional access to the beach and boat landings at the campground.
To date, the Houcks have received a total of $27,000 from camp owners. The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) also provided them with a $1,000 grant and $5,000 interest-free loan.
Houck said by the time the dam is paid for, however, it probably will end up costing close to $500,000. He said that could take 15 to 20 years to repay.
William Houck said when his family bought the property about 35 years ago, the understanding was that the dam was not included. Six months after the purchase, however, their attorneys informed them of the inclusion of the dam.
“It was just a quirk of fate, I guess,” Houck said. “The dam was just in the deed.”
Houck said that since the dam is privately owned, no support could be given by the state. He said, however, action was needed to repair the dam sooner rather than later or the lake would have to be drained and lost.
“Usually when a business builds a structure, it’s to bring in revenue,” Houck said. “Here, at the end of the day, it’s just concrete and steel … but look around … we had to protect this valuable resource.”
To celebrate the completion of the dam structure and raise money to pay for it, Pine Lake Park will host a fundraiser Saturday. The festivities, beginning at noon, will include a chicken barbecue, games for children and a fireworks display.